EAOs, NUG Want Cross-border Aid For IDPs In Burma

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By Kantarawaddy Times

Three ethnic armed organisations (EAOs) and the exiled National Unity Government (NUG) have called on the global community to offer cross-border aid to the thousands of people displaced by the war in areas of the country not under the control of the military regime.

“If the international community wants to provide humanitarian assistance and not go through the military regime, cross-border aid is the best way,” said an anonymous source responsible for handling humanitarian affairs in Karenni State for a prominent organisation.

He explained that civil society organisations (CSOs) and EAOs working along the border and in areas that aren’t under the dictatorship have experience in providing relief to civilians in need, but that there is currently very little cross-border aid.

The Chin National Front, the Karen National Union, the Karenni National Progress Party and NUG’s Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management released a statement on 10 May noting that aid can be brought through Burma’s eastern and western borders, according to a survey they conducted over the last year. The groups want international aid organisations and donor counties to organise a forum to discuss their findings.

CSOs say the military is actively blocking humanitarian aid at their checkpoints from reaching IDPs in Burma and treating civilians as enemies and deliberately attacking them.

In the recent attack on an Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) convoy carrying food for IDPs in southern Shan State, the Pa-O National Federal Council (PNFC) accused the Pa-O National Organisation, a People’s Militia Force under the regime, of shooting at the vehicle in which diplomats were sitting.

The US, Singaporean and Indonesian governments have strongly condemned the attack in Hsihseng Township and called on the junta to end all forms of violence and allow humanitarian aid to pass through without restrictions.

“As far as I know, the diplomatic convoy was carrying humanitarian aid for about 50 people, which I think was a pilot project. The ASEAN diplomats wanted to visit the conflict area to deliver food directly to the IDPs,” the source said. The military regime was threatening ASEAN countries and the international community, he said, after diplomats spoke to his officials about travelling in the region.

“If humanitarian aid goes through the military regime’s procedure, such things will happen again. That’s why we want ASEAN and the international community to provide cross-border humanitarian assistance.”

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