Aid actors face 'humanitarian trap' in Rakhine crisis

Many Rohingya live in camps where they have limited access to health care and education, and no livelihood opportunities. But a highly politicized context has made it difficult for relief groups to provide humanitarian aid. Photo by: Evangelos Petratos / ECHO / CC BY-ND

International nongovernmental organizations providing humanitarian assistance to the crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine state have been accused of favoring Muslim Rohingya communities over the Buddhist ethnic Rakhine population — creating serious challenges for the emergency response.

Waves of violence in 2012 between the two communities displaced more than 139,000 people, with thousands of houses burned and an estimated 300 dead. The greatest numbers of those affected and now living in camps are the minority Muslim Rohingya, who suffer endemic persecution and discrimination. Denied citizenship, the Rohingya are considered illegal “Bengali” immigrants, although many have lived in Myanmar for generations.

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About the author

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    Dani Patteran

    Dani Patteran is a freelance journalist and researcher based in Yangon, Myanmar. With a background in humanitarian aid, she covers humanitarian and development stories in Myanmar for a range of outlets. Prior to Myanmar, she lived and worked in the Palestinian territories and South Sudan.