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Sunday, 27 July 2014 10:19

Myanmar Muslims suffer worsening health crisis

International aid organizations, including Doctors without Borders, a French-founded humanitarian aid non-governmental organization, have warned that most of the inhabitants of strife-torn Province of in Western Myanmar have almost have not access to any health care services.

According to these organizations, the Myanmar government continue to prevent access to aid organizations in this Muslim areas of Myanmar, thus residents of these areas have faced with a health disaster.
A spokesman for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Pierre Peron, describes the health situation of Muslims in this region as intolerable, insisting that in case of the relief wrokers’ going out, this state will face with major humanitarian crises.
The UN official’s warning came, in the wake of the UN Human Rights’ new envoy to Myanmar, Young Hee Lee’s visit to Rakhine. According to news sources, while people are in great need of health service, the clinics are closed with a written note on its threshold that read “clinic closed until further notice.”  
Even the car that was used for the transfer of patients to the doctor is left unused and parked near the medical center complex in this western state.
Human rights activists, quoting the Rohingya Muslim population who were dependent on the services of medical centers in the area, announced that all of the equipment for the medical centers disappeared at the time when
the international relief groups were forced to leave Rakhine Province
in the months of February and March under pressure of Buddhists.
Worst affected are those in Northern Rakhine State, home to most of Myanmar's 1.3 million Rohingya who are stalked by sickness and malnourishment and as yet untouched by reforms under a semi-civilian government which took power in 2011. Many people in and around the village of ‘Inn Din’ speak of disease and preventable death. The expulsion of international aid organizations stems from the violence that erupted across Rakhine state in 2012 between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists, backed by the military, and Rohingya Muslims, killing at least 200 people and displacing 140,000, most of them Rohingya. Rohingya, who are stateless because the government considers them to be illegal Bengali immigrants, often do not dare go to state-run hospitals and clinics for fear of what may happen. When Holland’s “Doctors without Borders” said it had treated people it believed were victims of sectarian violence near Maungdaw in January, the government expelled the group for “flavoring” Muslims. Myanmar denies the attack took place.
And after a foreign staff member from another aid organization, Malteser International, was rumored to have desecrated a Buddhist flag, NGO and UN offices in Rakhine came under attack by Buddhists and groups withdrew. The health crisis could worsen as monsoon rains set in, making sanitation more difficult, and experts warn of the risk of diseases such as malaria and tuberculosis spreading in the absence of reliable medical care.
The Muslim minority witnessed evidence of a growing health crisis in a region where Rohingya say their basic human rights are denied and that they are suffering apartheid-like conditions.
EA

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