Medecins Sans Frontieres reopens Myanmar clinics, but not in Rakhine

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 March, 2014, 3:13am
UPDATED : Monday, 03 March, 2014, 3:13am

Myanmar has allowed Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) to resume work in parts of the country days after it ordered clinics closed, but not in the strife-torn state of Rakhine, the medical aid group said.

MSF did not give reasons for Thursday's suspension but media reported government officials had been angered by the charity's public comments on Rakhine.

The group has been treating both Rakhine Buddhists and Muslims, the latter a mostly stateless minority who live in apartheid-like conditions and who otherwise have little access to health care.

The UN and human rights groups say at least 40 Rohingya were killed by security forces and Buddhist civilians in a restricted area of the state in January. Myanmar's government denies that any massacre took place. Government spokesman Ye Htut accused MSF, in comments to media on Friday, of falsely reporting that it had treated victims near the scene of the alleged mass killing.

MSF said on Saturday that it had been allowed to resume work in Kashin and Shan states, as well as the Yangon region.

"While MSF is encouraged by this and will resume these activities for now, MSF remains extremely concerned about the fate of tens of thousands of vulnerable people in Rakhine state who currently face a humanitarian medical crisis," it said.

"All MSF services are provided based on medical need only, regardless of ethnicity, religion or any other factor."

It was forced to close clinics which served 30,000 Hiv/Aids patients, and more than 3,000 people with tuberculosis were not able to get needed medicine, it had said.

Myanmar's government has rejected reports by MSF, the UN and human rights groups that Rohingya villagers in Maungdaw township were attacked and their homes looted.