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Myanmar Government Must Cooperate With International Community to Ensure Appropriate Aid for Victims, Urges Amnesty International
Date:5/7/2008

WASHINGTON, May 7 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Following the impact of Cyclone Nargis on Myanmar, which killed tens of thousands of people and displaced around a million more, Amnesty International is calling urgently on the government to open its borders to relief workers and ensure aid is provided on the basis of need without discrimination.

"Government red tape in providing visas is costing lives, while some donors are delaying aid in the fear that it will be siphoned off to the army," said Benjamin Zawacki, Amnesty International's Myanmar researcher. "The government should now provide access and assurances to international relief workers."

Amnesty International calls on the Myanmar government to ease visa restrictions and customs procedures that have hampered access by international relief workers over the past few days and slowed the delivery of desperately needed aid. While some international aid has arrived in Yangon (Rangoon), the government has not yet mobilized the tremendous logistical effort necessary to provide assistance to the hardest hit populations.

Amnesty International recognizes that at this point the situation in southern Myanmar is primarily a humanitarian and rehabilitation crisis. Experience after other natural disasters of this scale, for instance the Indian Ocean tsunami of 2004, has proven that protecting human rights is essential for effective relief and a sustainable recovery.

Amnesty International therefore calls on the government of Myanmar to cooperate closely with international relief efforts and establish clear and transparent mechanisms for delivering aid. The government should provide aid according to need, without discrimination based on race, color, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status of recipients. In post-disaster situations, women are often particularly vulnerable to sexual violence, and frequently receive less
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SOURCE Amnesty International
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