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

Source: Reuters - Mon, 7 Apr 2014 17:29 GMT
Author: Reuters
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A family sits in front of their temporary shelter at a Rohingya refugee camp as Myanmar's government embarks on a national census, in Sittwe April 2, 2014. REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun
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LONDON, April 7 (Reuters) - 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.

"(Swire) called on the Burmese government urgently to restore humanitarian access to all communities in need, and to ensure the security of humanitarian aid workers and all communities in Rakhine State."

Swire said on Twitter that Britain also had deep concerns about the conduct of a planned census in Myanmar.

(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Andrew Osborn)

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