Australia: Responding to Myanmar's humanitarian crises

During a recent visit to Australia, Jürg Montani, outgoing ICRC Head of Delegation in Myanmar wrote a blog piece for New Mandala to highlight the humanitarian situation in Myanmar and the ICRC's work there.

"In 2016 the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) marked its 30th anniversary in Myanmar. This ongoing engagement reflects both humanitarian needs created by long-running violence and insecurity in this Southeast Asian nation, and the reality that the ICRC faces in many long wars where emergency relief and development assistance must be provided concurrently, not sequentially.

Humanitarians can – and do – respond to long-term humanitarian needs alongside more urgent needs, in the same neutral and impartial way that relief assistance is provided. But the tendency remains to view humanitarian action as 'emergency' responses, and long-term activities as 'development work'. This is despite the fact that long-term action can certainly be considered humanitarian when it addresses structures that threaten human survival.

As with many other humanitarian organisations, the ICRC has recognised that a binary paradigm of relief and development doesn't reflect the reality that people are affected by humanitarian crises caused by protracted conflicts. This realization is evident in our work in Myanmar."

Read the full blog piece here.