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Jul 13,2007
Report: Myanmar sinking under junta rule
by UPI

UNITED NATIONS -- A U.N. report said the quality of life for many of Myanmar's 52 million people is diminishing under the rule of its military government.

Citing confidential U.N. documents, the Financial Times said the people of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma, are sinking deeper into poverty because of their government's "ill-informed and outdated socio-economic policies" and "uncompromising attitude" towards ethnic minorities.

The report spotlights an increase in rural hunger and the breakdown of communities as members are forced to go elsewhere to find work, the Financial Times said.

Among those suffering the most are 500,000 ethnic minorities displaced by conflict and 250,000 Muslim former refugees, who returned to Myanmar's northern Rakhine state.

More than 30 percent of Myanmar's population lives below the poverty line and 30 percent of children under five are malnourished, the newspaper report stated.

In ethnic minority areas, poverty rates can climb to 70 percent, the report said.

However, international aid agencies trying to help are reportedly often rebuffed by local authorities, who view foreign aid workers as "an extension of the West's sanctions policy."

The United Nations is trying to open a dialogue with the junta to "distinguish the humanitarian agenda from the human rights and political agenda."

Copyright © 2007, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.

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