Khaing Roe La | DMG

October 29, Sittwe

David R. Stilwell, US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and Pacific Affairs, arrived in Sittwe, Arakan State on the afternoon of October 28 and met with representatives from four Arakan civil society organizations at an NGO office.

U Pyay Thein, a member of the board of directors of the People for People organization, said that the US assistant secretary met with them to understand the current situations in Arakan State and how to provide assistance.

“They mainly wanted to know what kinds of challenges we are currently facing in Arakan State. They said that they will help us as much as they can and will cooperate with the government so that they can provide the effective assistance,” he said.

U Shwe Baw Sein, chairperson of Rakhine Ethnic Congress (REC), said he discussed how international organizations could provide aid to Arakan IDPs.

“We collected data on the IDP issue but the number of IDPs we counted is different from the government data. The role of civil society organizations that are currently helping in IDP camps is getting weak. According to our research, aid from the government to IDPs is much lower than what is actually needed, despite the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and World Food Programme (WFP) which is also providing aid. We made that point during the meeting,” he said.

The CSOs said that US assistant secretary told them that he will try to work with the government to ensure refugees receive full assistance because he came to understand the situation on the ground in Arakan State.

While in Arakan State the US assistant secretary will also meet with representatives from the State Hluttaw and visit Thatkel Pyin Muslim IDP camp in Sittwe Township.

This visit was his first to Myanmar in his capacity as assistant secretary.

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