Burma

Humanitarian Group Discards Logo After Criticism of Creating Conflict in Rakhine

By Zue Zue 20 November 2017

YANGON — The Humanitarian Coordination Youth Team (HCYT), a group of volunteers providing humanitarian assistance in troubled northern Rakhine State, has discarded its t-shirts after the group came under fire for the logo.

The group, formed to support the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development (UEHRD)—an initiative by the Union government to provide assistance in Rakhine State—distributed uniform t-shirts and jackets for volunteers who would assist locals in Maungdaw and Buthidaung townships.

The garments featured a map of Rakhine on the back with Maungdaw and Buthidaug townships colored in red, and other areas in yellow, while Thandwe and Gwa townships were not included on the map.

Many netizens criticized the logo, interpreting it as the two troubled townships being split from Rakhine State.

HCYT released a statement on Nov. 13, saying that it had no intention other than to highlight the project area; and that Gwa and Thandwe were only left out because of limited space.

Two days later, the group announced that it had stopped using the clothing with the logo.

“We will not use it anymore because we are concerned that some people with bad intentions may take advantage of this,” said Ko Htet Paing Soe, a senior member of HCYT.

“I would like to tell all, including locals in Rakhine State, that we had no intention of creating conflict with this logo. We welcome suggestions and are ready to cooperate to render assistance more effectively,” he added.

HCYT sent its first group of volunteers to Rakhine State in the first week of November. Under the program, youth across the country will distribute relief supplies and collect data in Buthidaung and Maungdaw townships for 20 days. Forty volunteers joined the first batch, and the second and third batches will leave for Rakhine State after receiving training in Yangon on Nov. 20 and Dec.7 respectively.

HCYT was founded in October by a group of youth, which includes Rakhine, Muslims, Hindus and other ethnic minorities such as Daignet, Mro, and Maramargyi from Rakhine State.

Translated from Burmese by Thet Ko Ko.

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