Aid workers find Myanmar difficult

April 16, 2013 at 9:53 AM

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, April 16 (UPI) -- Aid workers trying to address the needs of Myanmar communities affected by religious violence are hindered by intimidation, humanitarian officials say.

A British government report on Myanmar said political progress has been made since democratic elections in 2010, though religious, political and civil rights were under threat. Human rights organizations have questions regarding Myanmar's commitment to reforms because of ongoing violence pitting Buddhists against the minority Muslim community.

The United Nations said access to internally displaced people has been affected by "ongoing intimidation" of aid workers in area afflicted by violence.

Workers with Doctors Without Borders said they were accused by Buddhist communities of favoring the Muslim minority, the United Nations' humanitarian news agency IRIN reports.

Spokesman for the European Commission on Humanitarian Aid told IRIN work was complicated by a climate of fear.

"In the current climate of tension, threats and intimidation by some radical elements of the Rakhine population, implementing partners face major difficulties in retaining and recruiting national staff," he said.

Religious violence in Myanmar since 2012 left nearly 200 people dead and displaced an estimated 127,000 people.

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