Diplomats call for aid access to troubled Myanmar state

Foreign diplomats in Myanmar are urging its government to allow full and unfettered humanitarian access to troubled Rakhine state, where operations by aid agencies have been curtailed while the army carries out counterinsurgency operations.

A joint statement Friday by more than a dozen Western nations including the United States raised concerns about northern Rakhine state, where human rights groups accuse the military of abuses against the Muslim Rohingya minority, including rape and burning down homes.

The government has prevented journalists and most aid workers from going to the region since the military began cracking down two months ago after nine border guards were killed by unidentified attackers.

The Rohingya, targets of discrimination in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, are believed to face severe shortages of food and medical care.