UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie Pitt travelled to Myitkyina township in Kachin State on Thursday, where over 100,000 people have been displaced since a cease-fire agreement between the Myanmar armed forces and ethnic armed groups broke down in 2011.
She spoke with displaced families and heard about challenges related to access to basic services, particularly health care. A 90-year-old woman described how she has been displaced for most of her life, approximately 10 times since the 1960s, and most recently in 2012.
Jolie Pitt also spoke with a family who had just arrived after fleeing Sumprabum township in northern Kachin State and spending 10 days in the forest. “We have relatives and friends who are still stranded in the forest. They need help urgently,” the head of the family said.
Jolie Pitt stressed the importance of humanitarian access to assist the displaced families. No local or international humanitarian actors have been able to access this conflict area since clashes started in late June this year.
“Women and girls need to have a meaningful and active role in the peace process,” said the Special Envoy. “With cease-fire talks and the upcoming elections, it’s essential that all of Myanmar’s people, including those displaced, can be engaged in decisions that affect their future.”