Rakhine State government bans NGO visits to conflict areas

12 January 2019
Rakhine State government bans NGO visits to conflict areas
A Myanmar border guard police officer mans his station at the Goke Pi police outpost, in Buthidaung Township, northern Rakhine State, western Myanmar, 07 January 2019. Photo: Hein Htet/EPA

The Rakhine State government has issued an instruction which bans NGOs from visiting villages in Ponnagyun, Kyauktaw, Rathedaung, Buthidaung and Maungdaw based on information they gathered regarding the fighting in Rakhine State.

Rakhine State government issued this instruction dated January 10 which bans UN, NGOs and INGOs from visiting the conflict areas but exempted International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and World Food Programme (WFP) from this ban order.

Apart from these two organizations, State Government ordered to restrict the movements of all UN agencies, NGOs and INGOs in the conflict areas in Rakhine State.

Regarding this ban order, Rakhine State government Municipal Affairs Minister Win Myint told Mizzima, “Yes, they are banned in the restricted zones but all of them are doing their jobs and travelling routinely. They are banned from visiting dangerous conflict zones. They can go to routine and regular places.”

Regarding the exempted two organizations, Municipal Affairs Minister Win Myint said, “Giving relief supplies are regularly being done. The government is doing this work. And administrative departments and other donors are doing this job also to the groups which are close to them.”

Currently Tatmadaw (government troops) and Arakan Army (AA) are fighting in and around Buthidaung, Kyauktaw, Rathedaung, Ponnagyun and Maungdaw Townships and the number of IDPs is increasing in these conflict zones.

United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs issued a press statement which says there are over 5,000 IDPs who fled from their homes in these conflict zones. Currently these IDPs are taking refuge in nearby monasteries and other assembly areas.