Red Cross chief visits Myanmar

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Sittwe (Myanmar), June 26 (IANS) The chairman of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Tuesday arrived in Myanmar’s restive western state of Rakhine as part of a humanitarian trip.

Peter Maurer was greeted at the Sittwe airport by local officials and later tweeted that he would travel to northern Rakhine “where 10 months ago nearly 700,000 people fled a violent outbreak”.

His tweet referenced members of the Rohingya Muslim minority of western Rakhine who escaped to neighbouring Bangladesh amid a surge in violence in August 2017.

In another tweet, Maurer wrote that he met young patients at a mobile health clinic in the town of Buthidaung, which was embroiled in violence between Myanmar security forces and Rohingya militants last year.

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After his time in Myanmar, the chairman is scheduled to visit Bangladesh, where more than 700,000 Rohingyas live in refugee camps.

Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingya as legal citizens and the minority has for decades been subject to discrimination in the Buddhist-majority country.

International organisations including the UN have accused the Myanmar military of killing Rohingyas, burning their villages and committing sexual violence during last year’s refugee exodus.

Myanmar State Counsellor and de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi had faced widespread disapproval for her failure to strongly criticize the military for its role in the crisis.

–IANS

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