The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator Ashok Nigam and Burma’s Minister for Border Affairs Lt-Gen. Thein Htay have announced that they will unveil a “Revised Rakhine Response Plan” to the media on Wednesday, November 21.
In a joint statement on Tuesday, they said the plan was to be initiated to meet the urgent humanitarian needs in Rakhine State where up to 115,000 people are displaced and unable to return home.
The UN-Naypyitaw joint-statement said that a total of US $67.6 million is currently needed to continue implementing critical assistance for 115,000 people for one year (July 2012 through June 2013). “Considering the contribution to date, a further $47.8 million is urgently required to address the funding gap,” it said.
International groups such as the UNHCR and Médecins Sans Frontières have recently complained that they were being prevented from delivering humanitarian assistance in the region to victims of the sectarian violence between the Muslim Rohingya community and Rakhine Buddhists.
The announcement comes following an assurance this week from President Thein Sein to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at the ASEAN summit in Phnom Penh that his government will tackle the problems in Rakhine State.
The Burmese president—who previously told the UN it should take responsibility for finding homes in third countries for the Rohingyas—on Friday condemned the “senseless violence” between the Muslim Rohingya community and Rakhine Buddhists, and blamed the unrest on extremists.
“There were nationalist and religious extremists who incited and agitated improperly behind the scenes to spread the violence in the region," Thein Sein reportedly told religious leaders. “Besides, there were some foreign organizations and nations who tried to fuel the flames by circulating false and fabricated news,” he said, without identifying them.
NGOs and international rights groups such as Human Rights Watch have, however, accused Burma’s security forces of involvement in a litany of human rights abuses in Rakhine State—primarily against Rohingyas and other Muslims—including killings, torture, sexual violence against women, and looting.