International donors have cut aid to 9,000 displaced villagers from Shan and Karen States.
They fled their farms and villages following attacks by the Burmese Army, and now most live in jungle and mountain camps in Burma, forced to rely on international aid. Some have lived there for ten years or more.
From October they will no longer receive essential aid, and risk being forced to return to their villages despite it not being safe for most of them to return because of Burmese Army soldiers and landmines.
A child living in one of the camps for displaced villagers in Karen State.
The Department for International Development (DFID) and other donors and aid agencies are facing unprecedented challenges with more than 400,000 Rohingya who have arrived in Bangladesh after fleeing attacks by the Burmese Army. But that doesn't mean they should forget other people who have fled attacks by the military.
DFID should step in and provide emergency funding to local community organisations which can provide aid to the villagers. In the longer term, it should coordinate with other international donors to ensure that there is funding for internally displaced people and refugees on the Thailand-Burma border so that they can return home when it is safe, or have another safe place to live.
No people should be forced to return home when it is not safe for them to do so.
The crisis in Rakhine State needs international action, not only to stop the campaign of terror inflicted upon innocent civilians, but also in the form of humanitarian aid for the 410,000 people who have fled into Bangladesh. The need for support to the victims of the Myanmar Army's military offensives and human rights violations, however, is not limited to the Rohingya from Rakhine State, as more civilians in Shan and Kachin States continue to flee their homes due to armed conflict. Meanwhile, support for existing refugees and internally displaced persons (IDP) camps in eastern Myanmar and along the Thailand-Myanmar border must be maintained while the security situation throughout the country remains fragile and war is ongoing.
As Rohingya civilians flee the Myanmar Army, it is now reported that 214 Rohingya villages have been destroyed, many of which have been burned to the ground, as satellite imagery from Human Rights Watch confirmed. Reports of human rights violations committed by the Myanmar Army continue to emerge. Despite the violence, the international community has yet to make any substantive efforts to stop the violence. A UN Security Council statement condemning the violence, while welcome, is not sufficient to stop what the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has called "ethnic cleansing."
For people displaced, conditions are desperate. Already Bangladesh is home to 300,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled previous violence and persecution. Many of the new arrivals are residing in open air shelters with a lack of food and water, a situation compounded by the rains of the monsoon season. The Bangladesh Country Director for Save the Children warned of the dire consequences of this humanitarian crisis, "I'm particularly worried that the demand for food, shelter, water and basic hygiene support is not being met due to the sheer number of people in need. If families can't meet their basic needs, the suffering will get even worse and lives could be lost." A further 30,000 ethnic Rakhine and other minorities have also been internally displaced while human rights abuses have also been committed by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on Rakhine villagers as well as Rohingya civilians suspected of being Government informants.
In northern Myanmar, the long-running armed conflict between the Myanmar Army and ethnic armed organizations (EAOs) is also continuing to create displacement. In Shan State, on 10 September, 300 villagers were forced to flee after Myanmar Army soldiers fired indiscriminately around their village, arbitrarily arresting three local villagers, beating and forcing them to be porters. The violations and military operations in northern Myanmar may not get the attention that Rakhine State does due to the scale and intensity of the bouts of violence there, yet the unrelenting offensives and abusive actions have stricken fear in ethnic nationality villages for decades. In Kachin State and northern Shan State, nearly 100,000 people are living in 168 IDP sites as the Myanmar Army has been launching offensives against the Kachin Independence Organization since 2011 as well as against the Ta'ang National Liberation Army, the Shan State Army - North and the Shan State Army - South. On the Thailand-Myanmar border there are 100,000 refugees living in camps while a further 200,000 IDPs live in southeast Myanmar.
Yet in many of these camps, support for essential food, medical and other supplies is dwindling. The Joint Strategy Team, a network of nine humanitarian organizations working in IDP camps in Kachin State, issued a statement last month outlining how "securing substantial funding support to ensure the dignity of the IDPs and meeting their basic needs become increasingly difficult." In Ei Htu Hta IDP camp in Karen State, home to 2,670 people, food rations will end as of the end of this month - September 2017 - while education and health services will be significantly cut. With conditions for return still unsafe, only one third of the residents feel that it is appropriate to return. The Ei Htu Hta IDPs Supporting Committee have issued a letter of appeal for support, stating that "eliminating food assistance and cuts to education and health, pose the risks of starvation, spread of disease, and children going uneducated and hungry," and have called for emergency donations.
The displacement in such a short time that the Myanmar Army has caused in northern Rakhine State is unprecedented in terms of scale and numbers. Yet forced displacement of ethnic and religious minorities and egregious human rights violations including rape, torture and extrajudicial killing committed by the Myanmar Army have been ongoing for decades. The pattern of abuses by the Myanmar Army faced by these various ethnic and religious minorities has been constant with various degrees of intensity in different periods of time. These atrocities must stop.
Meanwhile, it is vital that the international community provides urgent and essential support to those fleeing Rakhine State, and commits to supporting the victims in the long-term. This is true of other minorities who are living in protracted displacement conditions in the borderlands around Myanmar. If the international community's trust in Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's Government remains absolute, and no further action is taken against the institution that is causing the displacement – the Myanmar Army – then further displacement is inevitable and these IDPs and refugees will rely on the provision of humanitarian aid by international actors. This is a price that the international community must pay for its lack of punitive measures against Myanmar Army. That Governments around the world continue to sell weapons to the Myanmar Army and the Commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing is received warmly in European capitals is almost unthinkable given what the military does with these weapons to innocent civilians. Rather, targeted sanctions and a global arms embargo must be imposed by the UN Security Council. The international community must not shirk its responsibility by allowing the Myanmar Army to continue its violence against innocent civilians without sanction, nor must it reduce or end support for the victims of its decades-long abuse and power.
 One year following the 1988 pro-democracy uprising, the former military junta changed the country's name from Burma to Myanmar overnight. Progressive Voice uses the term 'Myanmar' in acknowledgment that most people of the country use this term. However, the deception of inclusiveness and the historical process of coercion by the former State Peace and Development Council military regime into usage of 'Myanmar' rather than 'Burma' without the consent of the people is recognized and not forgotten.
A campaign success! After years of campaigning by Burma Campaign UK supporters, thousands of whom have written to the British government, they have just announced an end to military training programmes for the Burmese military.
At last Min Aung Hlaing is facing direct pressure over his ethnic cleansing campaign.
It is incredible that is has taken three weeks of an ethnic cleansing campaign, thousands dead and nearly half a million displaced, before the British government decided to cancel this training. This training should never have been given in the first place. Ending this training should have been a no-brainer, not something to dither over for three weeks while ethnic cleansing happens in front of our eyes.
Since 25th August, more than 400,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh in the face of a military offensive by the Burmese Army. Rohingya sources estimate 5,000 or more people have been killed, tens of thousands are internally displaced, and tens of thousands of homes destroyed.
Last year, the British government spent £305,000 of British taxpayers' money training the Burmese military.