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Statement on the further escalation of violence in Rakhine State

The Heads of Mission of the European Union Delegation, EU Member States accredited to Myanmar, Canada and Norway issue the following statement:

Continued violence in Rakhine and southern Chin States between the Arakan Army and the Myanmar military is causing the loss of lives and a worsening humanitarian situation. Attacks against police posts and civilian authorities and individuals must stop. Actions such as the killing on 9 March 2019 of nine police officers in Ponnagyun township, Rakhine State can never be justified. 

The EU, Canada and Norway reiterate the call for restraint on all sides. We note that the Union government is open to talks with the Arakan Army, and we expect all parties to seize the opportunity and step up efforts to resolve historical grievances through dialogue and an inclusive political process. 

The EU, Canada and Norway urge all sides to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and allow the delivery of humanitarian aid. Access restrictions imposed on aid agencies in five townships in Rakhine State (Rathedaung, Buthidaung, Maungdaw, Ponnagyun and Kyauktaw) since early January 2019 have a serious impact on the already precarious humanitarian situation of at least 95,000 people. To prevent further deterioration, seasonal agricultural and rehabilitation works must be allowed to be carried out before the start of the rainy season.

Yangon, 14 March 2019

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