With restrictions imposed on its staff movements by Myanmar’s government, the global humanitarian organization International Rescue Committee (IRC) has announced it has decided to end its food program in the country on January 06.
The IRC ended its Tat Lan program that provided sustainable food security and improved nutrition and livelihoods to more than 56,000 villagers in Rakhine’s Myebon, Pauktaw, Kyaukphyu, and Minbya townships, for more than five years.
The Rakhine state government instructed it to cease operations in 2018.
A representative from the Myanmar government said that IRC staffs were denied travel permission because they were recruiting journalists.
“They were recruiting the journalists, [and]we didn’t know what their intention was. This was something inappropriate. These activities were not included in a memorandum of understanding. That’s why, we stopped the operations,” said Win Myint, Rakhine minister of municipal affairs.
An IRC official told RFA via email that the organization trying to invite Myanmar citizen journalists and trainees from Yangon to report on Tat Lan’s activities, and it had mistakenly included employee lists when seeking travel permission in the region.
The United Nations’ Livelihood and Food Security Fund provided US$19.6 million for the Tat Lan project.
The IRC had to let go 60 program employees from Myebon and Minbya townships.