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UK summons Myanmar envoy, calls for aid group access to Rakhine state

Mothers are pictured with their children at a Rohingya internally displaced persons (IDP) camp outside Sittwe, May 16, 2013. (Photo: Reuters/Soe Zeya Tun)
By Reuters
April 7, 2014
 London — Britain summoned Myanmar’s ambassador on Monday to call on the southeast Asian nation to allow aid agencies to resume their work in violence-torn Rakhine state, Britain’s Foreign Office said.

Aid agencies were forced to halt operations in Rakhine last month when hundreds of ethnic Rakhine Buddhists destroyed staff homes, offices and warehouses as well as boats used to transport supplies.

Parts of the ethnic Rakhine Buddhist community have accused aid groups of favouring the mainly Muslim Rohingya people, who make up the vast majority of victims of ethnic and religious violence that has displaced more than 140,000 since June 2012.

A spokeswoman for Britain’s Foreign office said Hugo Swire, a junior minister responsible for Asia, had summoned the ambassador for Myanmar, which is also known as Burma.

“We continue to be gravely concerned by the situation of the Rohingya in Rakhine State,” she said.