EU official to visit Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine state

A top official from European Union is visiting Myanmar’s western Rakhine state for the first time to assess the humanitarian situation on the ground, officials said Saturday.

EU official to visit Myanmar’s troubled Rakhine state

European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides, will arrive in state capital Sittwe on Saturday evening to meet the regional government officials.

“Then he will visit the EU humanitarian projects in Maungdaw area on Sunday,” regional government spokesperson, Tin Maung Swe, told Anadolu Agency by phone.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (Myanmar), more than 70,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Rakhine’s Maungdaw area since the military began a clearance operation last October following the deaths of nine police officers in attacks on border posts.

During the operation, the UN and rights groups have documented widespread abuses by security forces such as killings — including of children and babies — gang rapes, brutal beatings, the burning of villages and disappearances.

UNOCHA said last week that government has granted international staff to access affected villages in Maungdaw area for the first time in six months, but on the condition that they are accompanied by government officials.

Christos Stylianides stressed the importance of full access to all affected communities as the EU allocated over 12 million euro of funding for direct humanitarian assistance to communities affected by conflict in the country including the Rakhine state.

The announcement of new funding came after Stylianides met senior government officials in Nay Pyi Taw, political capital of Myanmar, on Friday.
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