Hands Tied by Old Hope, Diplomats in Myanmar Stay Silent

Hands Tied by Old Hope, Diplomats in Myanmar Stay Silent


“Western donors and the U.N. have not always been helpful,” said Charles Petrie, a former United Nations resident coordinator in Myanmar, noting “the refusal for a long time to let go of the fairy-tale view of Myanmar with Aung San Suu Kyi coming to power and the corresponding refusal to push back on some of her dogmatic positions.”

Mr. Petrie drew comparisons with South Sudan, where the world was “so taken by the narrative of a new country emerging from northern enslavement that the signs of the emerging violence were ignored.”

International aid workers with years of experience in Rakhine say they have never seen the situation so grave.

Brad Hazlett of Partners Relief and Development, a Christian charity that has provided food aid to the Rohingya, said he had been prevented from visiting internment camps this month in the state capital, Sittwe, that he had visited dozens of times before.

“I think their strategy is to starve them out,” he said.

Abul Hashim, a Rohingya from the northern Rakhine village of Anauk Pyin, described by cellphone how a team of ambassadors and United Nations officials had gone to the community on Oct. 2 as part of a stage-managed government trip. The crowds of officials who had helicoptered in promised food aid to the village.

But for nearly 10 days, Mr. Hashim said, his community has received nothing. For three months, none of the Rohingya have been allowed to step outside the village, he said. They have had no access to doctors or schools. All he, his wife, their three daughters and three sons had eaten that day was less than a pound of rice and some water.

“Our sorrows,” he said, “know no bounds.”



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