Military killings, arrests and disappearances have increased in Burma’s Rakhine State, but also dramatically in neighboring Chin State. Contrary to the urgent request of the UN Secretary General, the Burmese military has refused to declare a ceasefire despite ethnic militias’ agreement to do so.
In its ongoing challenge to the civilian government, the Burmese military has established its own COVID-19 panel that is expected to target journalists as “fake news,” while exercising broad powers in competition with the government’s COVID response. The military continues to block internet services in parts of Rakhine State, adding to the difficulties and lack of access to health services for all people there, especially the Rohingya.
This Monday, a World Health Organization (WHO) staffer was killed in Rakhine State as he delivered COVID-19 test samples. NGOs in the region have deplored the killing, calling for justice no matter who is responsible. We can only ask that the truth prevails instead of military propaganda. We request that you write the following UN officers working in Burma:
Aye Win, UNIC National Information Officer, (95)9 421060343 email@example.com
Valijon Ranoev, OCHA Public Information and Advocacy Officer firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr Stephan Paul Jost, WHO Country Office Myanmar (Burma) at email@example.com
Message: Thank you for your efforts to keep all ethnic and religious communities in Burma safe and healthy. We regret that a WHO staff member has been killed and hope that investigation will be fair and not influenced by government propaganda. As you know, the many restrictions placed on Rakhine State have sustained a sense of conflict and mistrust. Rohingya especially lack access to medical care and we fear that limited access will lead to mass fatalities. Please do not give up on testing for the virus, and please be clear with the Burmese government that a full ceasefire is urgently needed in all regions of Burma, as per the Secretary General’s recent request.