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

aid.

The Myanmar government must also ensure that the nearly one million people believed to have been displaced by the cyclone urgently receive adequate rehabilitation and assistance, including essential shelter, food, water and health care. Given the government's record of forcibly relocating its own citizens, Amnesty International calls on the government to avoid using excessive force against understandably distraught displaced populations.

The Myanmar government's history of corruption and abusive behavior raises concerns that it would misuse relief efforts as cover to forcibly relocate populations in order to clamp down on or undermine support for opposition groups. Any relocation of internally displaced persons from camps or disaster areas must be voluntary, unless the safety and health of those affected requires evacuation. They should not be coerced in any way, including through the suspension of assistance to those persons. The right of internally displaced persons to return voluntarily to their former homes or lands in safety and with dignity should be respected and the authorities should assist them in either returning or resettling in another part of the country.

"Human rights are most in jeopardy in situations of crisis and emergency," said Benjamin Zawacki. "So it is critical that the Myanmar government and other actors recognize and support the central role of human rights defenders, including those engaged in humanitarian work and those monitoring violations, in the relief and reconstruction process."


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SOURCE Amnesty International
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