A Bangkok-based human rights group, Fortify Rights on Thursday accused the Myanmar government of regularly blocking aid to thousands of civilians displaced by war in Kachin state since a ceasefire broke down in 2011.
The group in its report, said government has wilfully imposed restrictions on access to food, healthcare, shelter, water, and sanitation and to the 106,000 ethnic Kachin displaced by war.
The group reported that in the year to 2018, Myanmar approved only five per cent of 562 applications by humanitarian agencies to deliver aid.
“Consecutive governments and the military have wilfully obstructed local and international aid groups, denying Kachin civilians access to aid,” said Matthew Smith, chief executive officer of Fortify Rights.
A damning UN report on Monday said there was evidence Myanmar had committed genocide and other crimes against humanity in Rakhine state in the country’s west, from where more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims were driven out during a brutal military crackdown.
The Myanmar government largely rejects these accusations and disassociated itself from the UN report.
The outgoing UN human rights chief, Zeid Al-Hussein, told the BBC in comments published on Thursday that Myanmar’s de facto leader and one-time democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi should have resigned rather than attempting to excuse the crackdown.
“She was in a position to do something,” Hussein said. “She could have stayed quiet – or even better, she could have resigned.”
Fortify Right’s findings give “even more reason for the UN Security Council to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court,” said Smith.
Government spokesman Zaw Htay said Thursday he had not seen the group’s report and asked for “reasons and facts” when asked for comment.
The report also suggested the Chinese government privately urged Myanmar authorities to prevent the UN and international humanitarian aid organizations from operating near the border with China and restricted the flow of aid across the border.
“The government of China failed to protect IDPs [internally displaced persons],” David Baulk, Myanmar specialist for Fortify Rights, told a press conference in Myanmar’s commercial hub, Yangon.
“Chinese border guards committed human rights abuses,” he said.
China’s embassy in Myanmar did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Suu Kyi made ending Myanmar’s multiple civil wars, which have lasted for 70 years, a priority when her National League for Democracy won landslide elections in 2015, ending five decades of military rule.
But the myriad armed groups continue to clash with the still-powerful military, regularly killing and displacing civilians on the country’s fringes.