EU to provide $9.8 million to Myanmar

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The European Commission on Monday announced a new humanitarian aid package worth €9 million ($9.8 million) to address the needs of families affected by violence in Myanmar.

"The situation in Myanmar goes beyond the plight of the Rohingya refugees. We cannot forget the victims in Myanmar who have been displaced from their homes due to the on-going violence in the country. The protection of civilians continues to be a top priority for the EU," said Christos Stylianides, commissioner for humanitarian aid and civil protection.

Stylianides said the assistance aims to protect those most vulnerable who are deprived of basic rights, particularly those living in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine states.

"All parties to the conflict must respect international humanitarian law and grant unrestricted humanitarian access to all parts of the country," he added in a statement released by the European Commission.

According to the statement, the EU has funded humanitarian operations in Myanmar since 1994, providing a total of more than €249 million ($273 million).

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar's state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled "Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience."

Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar's army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

However, Kachin and northern Shan states have witnessed "the protracted forced displacement of over 100,000 civilians" since conflict between the government and rebel armed groups erupted in 2011, according to the European Commission.

"Violence has significantly escalated since the beginning of 2018, leading to some of the most widespread displacement across the two states in recent decades," it added.

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