Humanitarian aid is welcome, but it must be provided through proper channel.
The Union Government is making effort to address the Rakhine State issue, including the provision of humanitarian assistance to the Buddhist and Muslim communities in northern Rakhine State in cooperation with UN agencies.
At the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ retreat in Yangon on 19 December, the Government of Myanmar reiterated its readiness to grant necessary humanitarian access and to keep ASEAN members informed of developments in Rakhine State.
The ASEAN Foreign Ministers welcomed the steps taken by Myanmar to address the challenges in the Rakhine State and expressed willingness of their countries to help with humanitarian and developmental assistance.
Currently, aid is flowing into the conflict areas in northern Rakhine State, where several border police outposts were attacked by insurgents on 9 October, leading to the deaths of nine border guards and an ensuing series of skirmishes between the Tatmadaw and violent attackers
However, regarding the sending of humanitarian aid to conflict areas, permission should be sought from the Union Government, showing respect for the sovereignty of the country.
For example, aid from the organization Indio-X from
Indonesia, a member of
the ASEAN group, was sent to the Rakhine State in cooperation with the regional government.
At a time when the government is making concerted effort to promote peaceful coexistence and harmony among the communities, plans to send a “food flotilla” to the Rakhine State without permission from the Myanmar government are unacceptable.
There are many questions to be asked about the conduct, true nature and objectives of the flotilla organizers.
In fact, religion is not a tool for politics and should not be used as such.
Aid should aim at easing tensions between the two communities in the Rakhine State and aid groups should try to provide aid relief in transparency and in accordance with the law. The issues in the Rakhine State are complex — there is no reason to make it more complicated.