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Doctors Without Borders expelled from Myanmar

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - Doctors Without Borders said Friday it has been expelled from Myanmar and that tens of thousands of lives are at risk. The decision came after the humanitarian group reported it treated nearly two dozen Rohingya Muslim victims of communal violence in Rakhine state, which the government has denied.

The humanitarian group said it was "deeply shocked" by Myanmar's decision to expel it after two decades of work in the country.

"Today for the first time in MSF's history of operations in the country, HIV/AIDS clinics in Rakhine, Shan and Kachin states, as well as Yangon division, were closed and patients were unable to receive the treatment they needed," the group said in a statement, using the French acronym for its name.

As Myanmar's main provider of HIV drugs, supplying treatment to 30,000 people, the group described the impact as devastating.

Myanmar's presidential spokesman Ye Htut had criticized Doctors Without Borders in the Myanmar Freedom newspaper for hiring "Bengalis," the term the government uses for Rohingya, and lacked transparency in its work.

He also accused the group of misleading the world about an attack last month in the remote northern part of Rakhine. The United Nations says more than 40 Rohingya may have been killed, but the government has vehemently denied allegations that a Buddhist mob rampaged through a village, killing women and children. It says one policeman was killed by Rohingya and no other violence occurred.

Doctors Without Borders said it treated 22 injured and traumatized Rohingya.

Repeated attempts to reach Ye Htut for comment were unsuccessful Friday.

Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist nation of 60 million, only recently emerged from a half-century of military rule. Since then, ethnic tensions have swept Rakhine state, raising concerns from the United States and others that the bloodshed could undermine democratic reforms. Up to 280 people have been killed and tens of thousands more have fled their homes, most of them Rohingya.

Since the violence erupted in June 2012, Doctors Without Borders has worked in 15 camps for the displaced people in Rakhine state. For many of the sickest patients, the organization offers the best and sometimes only care, because traveling outside the camps for treatment in local Buddhist-run hospitals can be dangerous and expensive. The aid group has worked to help smooth the referral process for emergency transport from some camps.

Due to increasing threats and intimidation from a group of Rakhine Buddhists who have been holding near daily protests against Doctors Without Borders, the organization has said its activities have been severely hampered and that it has not received enough government support.

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dbailey880 February 28 2014 at 6:24 PM

There is a sect that condones violence? Perhaps Debbie is correct. They have strayed far from Siddhartha Gautama and his right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness and right concentration. If, as Einstein said, the world would follow the Theravadin form of religion, all life would be safer. DO NO HARM

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valgaavmiko dbailey880 February 28 2014 at 7:16 PM

Uh Buddhists were historically warriors. This isn't a shock.

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dbailey880 valgaavmiko February 28 2014 at 8:17 PM

Siddhartha Gautama was born in the clan of Shakyas, and yes, they were a warrior tribe below the Himalayan foothills, and Siddhartha's father was a chieftain. He was raised as a prince, but after seeing for himself the sufferings of life, acquired enlightenment, and the man became a philosopher, a doctor of the mind, a religious leader. His basic precept was to consider all beings as like oneself.
Would like to know the truth. If the Buddhists are slaughtering Muslims...why?

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no1chef99david February 28 2014 at 2:21 PM

People of the world get it through your heads - a savage is a savage is aa savage and no matter wether you are there to help or not don't waste your time or resources when others need it. Say good bye and walk away. They are the loosers not you

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Martha no1chef99david February 28 2014 at 3:31 PM

Sadly, this is so true. It is heart breaking that those who need the most lose the most with all the ugly politics, not just around the world, but here at home as well. Just breaks your heart.

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rbycdog February 28 2014 at 9:30 PM

Whoever told the doctors to leave is very ignorant, these physicians come there for free help the people but becuae of their backward ways or whatever now alot more will die maybe thtas their goal the poor suffer in every country even the usa.

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TOM February 28 2014 at 2:32 PM

When do you take by giving? Sometimes love has to hurt. Could there pehaps be a borderd area for doctors "without borders"?

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tzarolia February 28 2014 at 2:54 PM

That explusion was a huge mistake. Myanmar needs doctors there to help the poor with their health. This isn't right.

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frozenbull tzarolia February 28 2014 at 3:35 PM

They should be thankful the doctors didn't need doctors . These are not safe places these doctors go . And not everyone thinks and acts like we do here in the states .

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lionessefl tzarolia February 28 2014 at 4:32 PM

the government does not care about the poor or the sick, obviously. It only cares about controlling the actions and thoughts and deeds of everyone in their country.

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forensics41p February 28 2014 at 3:17 PM

Primitive sociey remains as such. They are familiar with no medical methods other than their own which as best are primitive. The greeny eyed monster - ie, Jealousy becomes rampant and all sorts of negative factors emerge. Their society pays for such attitudes.

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BULLFROG62 February 28 2014 at 3:22 PM


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Dr. Cal Harris February 28 2014 at 9:29 PM

Using USA logic, this makes no sense. We know that medical doctors are sworn to relieve suffering of any humans.
Burma is a very sad country; such a beautiful place yet with a history of tragedy. A medical doctor friend and her daughter had to escape Burma many years ago when they were tracking down and killing doctors (there might be other reasons, but that was her story).

I would love to explore that whole area but it probably isn't worth the danger and hastle.

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jeffinalaska2 Dr. Cal Harris February 28 2014 at 10:52 PM

Thats what I keep saying Dr. Kevorkian was doing.

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KATHE BROWN Dr. Cal Harris February 28 2014 at 11:50 PM

too many other beautiful places in the world that are safer. so much to travel and see...so little time and $$$

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rsb418 February 28 2014 at 9:26 PM

You can't teach stupidity.

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druryjddrury3 February 28 2014 at 9:13 PM

Ignorance has always been common , but it is getting worse to day, just when we have some means to help and treat some people, they are forbidden to do it.What in the world is going on ? Stupid, morons Myanmar, when Doctors goes out of their ways and risks theit lives.We will never win against stupidity.

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1 reply
KATHE BROWN druryjddrury3 February 28 2014 at 11:51 PM

just out there where everyone can see via the internet.

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