Leadership Council for Human Rights

~ Feet in the mud, head in the sky ~

Thursday, April 05, 2007

The need for humanitarian aid to Burma

The policies of many Western countries towards Burma's ruling military junta are misplaced, according to a recent Washington Post op-ed by Morton Abramowitz, a former U.S. ambassador to Thailand and Jonathan Kolieb, a research associate at the Century Foundation. The solution, as the writers see it, lies not with imposing sanctions on the junta, but with a focus on the people of Burma.

Over half of Burmese children have never gone to school and 30 percent of those under the age of five are malnourished. One third of all Burmese live in poverty, and the average life expectancy is declining. The healthcare crisis is growing, with AIDS and HIV becoming endemic. In fact, at least 37,000 Burmese died of AIDS-HIV in 2005, and an estimated 600,000 are currently living with the disease.

The writers say that the $150 million in aid arriving in the country each year is just a small fraction of what is needed. They suggest that the figure should be closer to $1 billion. These funds would help fix the shattered infrastructure of some of the country’s vital institutions, particularly the healthcare system.

To read this article, click here.


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