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Myanmar issues guidelines for UN, civil society groups

The military junta has has issued regulations on how UN agencies and international organisations must operate in the country.

india Updated: Feb 13, 2006 19:23 IST

Military-ruled Myanmar has for the first time issued regulations on how United Nations agencies and international and domestic development organisations must operate in the country.

The seven-page guidelines given last week to the UN and other non-governmental organisations include rules on employment, and a requirement that government officials must accompany staff when they travel in Myanmar.

"There is nothing shocking nor extraordinary in the guidelines. However, we have to see how it works in practice," said a Western diplomat who is involved in the supervision of humanitarian operations in the military-run state.

The international humanitarian community is understood to be holding a meeting with the government in the capital Yangon this month to clarify the regulations.

There are about 60 UN agencies and international and domestic non-governmental organisations working in Myanmar.

"Many organisations currently working in Myanmar may not require to change substantially the way they are working now," the guidelines said.

UN agencies and other development bodies working inside Myanmar have already been limited in their activities.

In August, the UN-created Global Fund against AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis - diseases that are prevalent in Myanmar - announced it was leaving, citing the junta's restrictions.

But diplomats say the Global Fund also faced significant pressure from a handful of influential US lawmakers who oppose any compromise with the junta, which has ruled Myanmar since 1962.

First Published: Feb 13, 2006 19:23 IST