YANGON (Reuters), AUGUST 21, 2018- The United Nations is awaiting “effective access” to the Myanmar region where 700,000 Rohingya Muslims were driven out in an army crackdown, months after agreeing with the government to aid the return of refugees, the U.N. country head said on Tuesday.
The organization’s agencies for development and refugees – UNDP and UNHCR – signed a memorandum of understanding with Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s government in June to allow Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh last year to return home.
But requests for authorizations for staff to visit the conflict area have been beset by delays and authorities have offered access to a limited area, Knut Ostby, the U.N. resident and humanitarian coordinator in Myanmar, told Reuters. Ostby said the United Nations had declined to accept an offer from the government to work in a limited number of villages and would not send in experts until it had negotiated a better deal.
“They’re standing ready to go when we have effective access,” he said.