ICRC sets up new office in Myanmar

March 5, 2014 at 9:12 AM

NAYPYITAW, Myanmar, March 5 (UPI) -- The International Committee of the Red Cross said Wednesday it plans to open a new office in the restive Myanmar state of Kachin.

Claudia Matter, director of ICRC operations in Myanmar, said the aid organization is setting up a permanent presence in Kachin after working there for the last year. She said the Kachin office will help provide care for Myanmar citizens disabled by landmines strewn across the country.

"This office will bring us closer to the disabled people who need access to the physical rehabilitation services we provide," she said in a statement.

International humanitarian group Doctors without Borders said it was allowed to resume some of its work in Rakhine and Kachin after being ordered to suspend its operations last week by the central government. Myanmar said the aid organization was showing a bias toward members of the minority Muslim population.

The United Nations estimates 140,000 people, mostly from the minority Muslim community, are displaced because of violence in Rakhine and Kachin. Mosques and Islamic schools were destroyed in anti-Muslim violence last year.

Myanmar earned international recognition for democratic reforms that began in 2010, though its human rights record has overshadowed some of those developments.

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