Local Ethnic Victims Refuse Aid from Foreign NGOs

Maung Aye

Maungdaw: Local ethnic Arakanese victims of the recent violent unrest who are currently taking shelter in seven emergency camps in Maungdaw Township in Arakan State have reportedly refused to accept relief aid provided by foreign NGOs.

Local Ethnic Victims Refuse Aid from Foreign NGOs

The abbot of Aloedawpyiy Monastery, where many of the displaced are sheltering, said the refugees have refused to accept aid from the NGOs because they believe there is dishonesty behind the aid.

“We respect their title for their aid that reads ‘the humanitarian aid that disregards race and religion for all’. But many ethnic refugees here believe that there is some dishonesty behind that aid of the foreign NGOs because there was nothing to show that those NGOs had ever provided assistance to the ethnic people here in Maungdaw. They have been providing assistance only to the Muslim people here,” said the abbot.

The refugees who are sheltering in the emergency camps in urban Maungdaw are said to have boycotted the relief aid that three international NGOs had come to provide them on 3 June.

“They [the NGOs] provide rice, free health care and education, but their assistance is not for our ethnic people and they do not do anything for us. They have built roads, ponds, and wells for the Muslim villages, but they have not done anything for our ethnic villages here. In this situation our ethnic people are helpless and have to depend on themselves for living on their poor and difficult lives, and they were brutally attacked by the Muslims relying on the foreign NGOs. If those attacks would be seen normally they seem just like riots between Arakanese and Muslims. But they were not the riots, they were the attacks carried out by the Muslims to encroach on the national sovereignty,” said the abbot.

“So, we have dismissed the officials of those NGOs who have come to provide relief aid to our victims, and told them we do not need their assistance because we are not the people who are relying on others,” added the abbot.

Some international NGOs, including the Malteser, are said to have visited the other camps in Maungdaw on 4 July to offer their aid, but the victims in the camps reportedly also turned down their offer.

“Some doctors and officials of the foreign NGOs visited the camps here to provide their aid to the victims, but the victims have refused to accept their aid and dismissed them from their camps,” a resident of Maungdaw confirmed.

It was learned that anger and dissatisfaction against the international NGOs is growing among the local Arakanese ethnic residents in Maungdaw as news is widely spreading in their township that officials of those NGOs were involved in agitating the Muslims to launch the recent violent attacks against them.

The international NGOs, including the UN’s organizations, are also said to have practiced widespread discrimination against the ethnic Arakanese people in their decades-long operation in the area.