President of International Committee of the Red Cross arrives in Myanmar
On Sunday the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) arrived in Myanmar to set up prison inspections. The ICRC will also try to gain access to conflict areas on the borders of China and Thailand.
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China has sent soldiers to its border with Myanmar amid concern that escalating violence between the Southeast Asian country's government and ethnic separatists is spilling over, an official Chinese newspaper reported on Friday.Skip to next paragraph
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The 18-month conflict between rebels and government forces in Kachin state is one of the biggest tests for Myanmar's reform effort and the use of aircraft has raised doubts about whether the retired generals in the government have really changed their harsh ways.
Maurer also plans to visit the western state of Rakhine, where the ICRC has been providing assistance to the sick, wounded and displaced people caught up in sectarian violence between minority Rohingyas and majority Buddhists.
"Both the ICRC and the Myanmar Red Cross Society are evacuating patients who cannot reach health facilities on their own and administering first aid to the injured. In addition, the ICRC is renovating sanitary facilities and supplying water in camps housing displaced people," the ICRC said on Sunday.
In an outbreak of sectarian violence in October 2012, Buddhist monks openly incited mobs in Rakhine to attack Muslim Rohingyas. The conflict has left Muslims elsewhere in Myanmar fearing for their own safety.
At least 600 Rohingyas believed to be illegal migrants from Myanmar have been detained in Thailand, police there said on Friday.
An estimated 800,000 Rohingyas live in Myanmar but are officially stateless. The Myanmar government denies them citizenship, regarding them as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants, but Bangladesh does not recognise them as citizens either. (Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; Editing by Roger Atwood)