Today the EU has stepped up its response to assist those in need in Myanmar in the context of the recent military coup, with the allocation of an additional €9 million in emergency humanitarian aid to support the most vulnerable. The critical reinforcement of the EU’s response comes on top of a funding package of €11.5 million provided at the start of 2021, to support key humanitarian and disaster preparedness needs in the country, bringing EU humanitarian assistance in Myanmar to a total of €20.5 million in 2021 so far.
Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said: “The violent military junta that has overthrown the legitimate government in Myanmar has been merciless in killing innocent civilians, in egregious violations of International Humanitarian Law that exacerbates the already dire humanitarian crisis faced by displaced and conflict-affected populations. The EU condemns the despicable acts of violence by the coup d’état, and meanwhile reaffirms its will to continue providing strong humanitarian support through its humanitarian partners directly to the most vulnerable population, who also face recurrent natural hazards that further increase their needs. At this this crucial and pressing time, the EU is showing up for the people of Myanmar by significantly stepping up its support in humanitarian assistance.”
The funding will be used to respond to urgent humanitarian needs in the sectors of emergency health support, protection, food security, and multi-sector emergency assistance. Through this additional allocation, the EU is stepping up its response capacities in the conflict areas in which it is active, and also in urban settings, where indiscriminate violence has been used by the Myanmar security forces. The additional funding will also provide humanitarian assistance to those fleeing fighting between Ethnic Armed Groups and the Myanmar Armed Forces, with funds allocated to address the growing regional implications of the crisis, including in Thailand. All EU humanitarian funding is provided in line with the humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and independence, and is channelled directly through NGOs, UN Agencies, and the Red Cross. The EU does not provide any humanitarian aid funding to the illegitimate military authorities.
Conflict in Myanmar is marred by widespread violations of international humanitarian and human rights law, resulting in substantial humanitarian needs. More than 336,000 people in Myanmar have been internally displaced, a large majority of whom are in situations of protracted displacement in Rakhine, Kachin, Kayin and Shan states, with limited access to basic services. An estimated 600,000 Rohingya people remain in Rakhine State, of whom around 126,000 are effectively confined to camps or camp-like settings that were established in 2012, and so still cannot move freely. Restricted humanitarian access to several areas hampers the ability of international aid organisations to provide crucial assistance to people in need. Recurrent natural hazards also increase the vulnerability of people living in disaster-prone areas.
Since 1994, the EU has provided €287 million in humanitarian aid to Myanmar, with €19 million allocated in 2020. The EU works with trusted and independent humanitarian partners to address the protection, food, nutrition and health needs of the most vulnerable people, particularly in Rakhine, Chin, Kachin and Shan states. Following the violence in August 2017, the EU has stepped up its humanitarian assistance in the form of food, nutritional care, healthcare, water and sanitation, coordination, and protection, including mine education. Humanitarian needs are increasing as a result of the 1 February 2021 coup d’état, as security forces use indiscriminate violence against civilians and fighting increases between Ethnic Armed Groups and the Myanmar Armed Forces.
The EU will closely monitor the humanitarian situation in Myanmar, in light of the recent developments, in order to step up the humanitarian response further, if needed.
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