InterAction Calls for Civilian Protection in Myanmar

Release Date: 
Sep 12, 2017

WASHINGTON – InterAction is deeply concerned by the violence against civilians taking place in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, as well as the growing displacement crisis as nearly 300,000 seek refuge across the border in Bangladesh. With most humanitarian assistance blocked in the north of Rakhine State, the situation will only grow moredesperate for the 400,000 people living in already dire conditions. InterAction stands with NGOs working in Myanmar in calling for the end to violence against civilians, a cessation of misinformation about aid workers, and reinstatement of humanitarian access to northern Rakhine State.

“While we commend the Bangladeshi government for opening its borders to those fleeing violence in Myanmar, we call on the Myanmar government to allow access to populations in northern Rakhine State, and respect the neutrality of humanitarian organizations working to provide critical assistance to populations in need. We also condemn the violence perpetrated against civilian populations, and call on all parties to ensure that all civilians in Myanmar are respected and protected,” said Lindsay Coates, president of InterAction. 

National governments are primarily responsible for ensuring the protection of the people within their borders. NGOs in Myanmar work there with the approval of the central government to help ensure that people receive impartial aid in times of need. Humanitarian agencies provide support and assistance to vulnerable populations regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, or political affiliation, and should be facilitated to continue their vital work. Many NGOs have worked in Myanmar for years and provide lifesaving aid as well as long-term development assistance.

The U.S. should condemn the violence committed against civilians, and use its diplomatic influence to encourage the Myanmar government to take steps to ensure protection of all civilians and respect for international humanitarian law, and allow humanitarian assistance to reach populations in need.

“Addressing this protracted and complex crisis requires collaboration between Myanmar’s political leadership with the support of UN agencies, NGOs, local populations, and the diplomatic community,” said Coates. “This crisis has continued for decades, and the humanitarian situation will continue to deteriorate unless the deep-rooted issues of representation and justice in Myanmar are resolved.” 

Additional Resources:

InterAction is the largest alliance of U.S.-based nongovernmental international organizations, with more than 190 members. Our members operate in every developing country, working with local communities to overcome poverty and suffering by helping to improve their quality of life. Visit www.interaction.org.