Following the announcement of the Myanmar Government on resumption of ICRC visits to places of detention, the ICRC intends to start detention visits as soon as possible. It will start with a pilot visit in full compliance with its standard working methods and procedures. After this first visit, it will organize in consultation with the authorities the extension of the visits to the other places of detention in the country. The aim is to help the authorities address issues related to condition of detention.
Since 2012, the ICRC has worked to improve the water and sanitation infrastructures in large prisons. To date it has helped rehabilitate sytems in four establishments. Another four should be rehabilitated in 2013 and ICRC stands ready to continue to further extend its work.
Since the establishment of a delegation in 1986, the ICRC has continuously worked on physical rehabilitation of lower limb amputees but mainly production of prostheses. Reaching agreement with the Ministry of Health, the ICRC resumed its assistance to three prosthesis production workshops under the Ministry. It is also negotiating with the Ministry of Defence about the provision of similar assistance. It supports the Myanmar Red Cross Society in the running of the Hpa-an Physical Rehabilitation Centre, providing technical, material and financial support.
The ICRC spreads knowledge of international humanitarian law (IHL) in cooperation with various government bodies and academic circles. It sponsored the participation of government officials and academics in IHL events such as regional conferences and teaching sessions in Asia. It facilitates government officials and academics learning IHL by sponsoring them to follow an IHL postgraduate course offered by the NALSAR Law University in Hyderabad, India. In cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, it organized a workshop on IHL at Nay Pyi Taw for senior officials from the Parliament and six ministries in 2012.
Cooperation with the Myanmar Red Cross Society
The ICRC supports the Myanmar Red Cross Society (MRCS) in order to better prepare for and respond to emergencies including armed conflict and other situations of violence. It helps to promote IHL and basic humanitarian principles across the country. It helps to develop the Myanmar Red Cross Society’s branches in sensitive border areas. It trains Red Cross Volunteers in “safer access approaches” so that they can address humanitarian needs in a safer manner.
The ICRC supports the Myanmar Red Cross Society in the running of the Hpa-an Physical Rehabilitation Centre that produces an average of 800 prostheses a year. Together with the National Society it runs an Outreach Prosthetic Programme, which facilitates the transportation of patients from remote areas to Hpa-an Physical Rehabilitation Centre.
The ICRC also provides primary support to the MRCS in a joint operation in Rakhine State.
The ICRC has established a permanent presence in Rakhine State, right after the outbreak of the inter-communal violence. Together with the Myanmar Red Cross Society, it provides basic but vital assistance to the wounded, sick and displaced of both communities. It provided support to the Myanmar Red Cross Society primarily by helping ensure safer access for its staff and volunteers and established operational capacities. Both organizations provide support to mobile clinics, evacuate patients who cannot reach referral health facilities and supply water in camps for displaced people. In order to compliment joint action, the ICRC also rehabilitates a referral hospital in Sittwe.
Following the recurrence of violence in October 2012, the ICRC has conducted assessment visits to the newly affected townships to assess access to health care by the affected population and is considering extending assistance.