Paris-based relief agency pulls out of Myanmar | india | Hindustan Times
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Paris-based relief agency pulls out of Myanmar

The agency complained that interference from authorities made it impossible to carry out its humanitarian mission there.

india Updated: Mar 31, 2006 17:47 IST

The French branch of Doctors Without Borders has pulled out of Myanmar because of the "impossibility of working in acceptable conditions," the aid group said on Thursday.

The group's chief of mission left on Sunday, it said in a statement.

The Paris-based relief agency, present in Myanmar since 2001, complained that increasing interference from authorities made it impossible to carry out its humanitarian mission there.

The group had been working in two states on the eastern border with Thailand, where the Karen, one of Myanmar's eight major ethnic groups, have been fighting for independence for more than 50 years.

"The regime wants to get in the way of humanitarian groups working in politically sensitive areas," the group's mission head, Herve Isambert, was quoted as saying.

"The Myanmar government does not want annoying witnesses to the acts of violence it is committing against its own people," he said.

Authorities began to clamp down on the group in 2004, preventing its health workers from reaching patients in the malaria-ridden states of Mon and Karen, said the statement.

Doctors Without Borders' Dutch and Swiss branches were to continue their projects in Myanmar, the statement said.

The statement, however, mentioned that those groups were also experiencing "great difficulties" with authorities in Myanmar.