The European Commission has announced a new humanitarian aid package worth €9 million to address the needs of families affected by violence in Myanmar, particularly those living in the Kachin, Shan and Rakhine states. This includes €2 million to increase access to safe, quality primary and secondary education for children that are out of school due to the displacements.
“The situation in Myanmar goes beyond the plight of the Rohingya refugees. We cannot forget the victims in Myanmar who have been displaced from their homes due to the on-going violence in the country. The protection of civilians continues to be a top priority for the EU. The assistance I am announcing today aims to protect those most vulnerable who are deprived of basic rights. All parties to the conflict must respect international humanitarian law and grant unrestricted humanitarian access to all parts of the country,” said Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection Christos Stylianides.
EU aid will improve living conditions in camps, by repairing shelter and water and hygiene infrastructures. Furthermore, projects will have a specific focus on prevention and response to gender-based violence and respect for international humanitarian law.
Myanmar’s Kachin and northern Shan states have witnessed the protracted forced displacement of over 100,000 civilians since conflict between the government and rebel armed groups erupted in 2011. Violence has significantly escalated since the beginning of 2018, leading to some of the most widespread displacement across the two states in recent decades.
Following the 2017 exodus to Bangladesh, it is estimated that up to 600,000 Rohingya still live in Myanmar’s Rakhine state without recognition of their legal status. Confined in their villages, or internally displaced in camps, with limited freedom of movement and access to social services and livelihoods, the Rohingya population remain largely dependent on humanitarian assistance to meet their most basic needs.
The EU has funded humanitarian operations in Myanmar since 1994, providing a total of more than €249 million in emergency relief programmes to assist victims of both conflict and natural disasters.