Report Highlights Lack Of Humanitarian Access To Cyclone Nargis Survivors In Myanmar

“Almost two years after Cyclone Nargis killed nearly 140,000 people in Myanmar, the repression of rights in areas hit by the cyclone continues and the humanitarian space in the country is shrinking instead of growing as originally hoped, a [Human Rights Watch] report released on Thursday said,” Reuters AlertNet reports. 

“Civilians in cyclone-affected areas continue to be subjected to various forms of forced labour, everyday restrictions on movements, and infringements of the rights to freedom of expression and association,” the report said, adding that human rights fail to be protected despite continuing international aid efforts (4/30).

The report said the government is “slow to issue travel permits required to transport aid, while the state is taking a more central role in running humanitarian operations, fanning fears of manipulation,” Agence France-Presse reports. Ahead of elections, expected by the end of the year, humanitarian access is “again narrowing,” Human Rights Watch said. Also according to AFP, U.N. estimates show that “100,000 people are still without adequate shelter as the 2010 monsoon season approaches, while the agricultural, health and education sectors remain in dire straits” (4/29).

Inter Press Service: “some 1.1 million Burmese have been given food aid in the two years after Nargis, says the U.N.” Though international aid efforts have tried to scale up local farming, another recent report by the U.N., ASEAN and the Burmese government found that “the provision of agricultural inputs remains limited and the farm yields smaller than those before Nargis,” IPS writes (Myat, 4/30).