Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Burmese Refugees: Australia helps Rohingya families

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Australia will provide A$ 700,000 to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) for Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazaar. The fund will be used to construct improved shelters for 492 Roingya families, as part of UNHCR’s on-going shelter replacement project.

Announcing the new funding pattern, the Australian High Commissioner Dr Justin Lee said, “Australia’s funding of the UNHCR will provide better living conditions including more space, privacy and protection to around 3,000 refugees, until a durable solution can be found.”

Australia also granted earlier this month A$ 3.2 million in humanitarian aid to Rohingya people living in Burma’s northern Arakan (Rakhine) State. This takes Australia’s total contribution to A$ 8 million in this financial year to assist Rohingya in both Bangladesh and Burma.

“This reflects Australia’s commitment to a permanent solution to the Rohingya issue, “Dr Lee said.

The UN refugee agency warmly welcomed the Australian donation. UNHCR representative in Bangladesh, Pia Prytz Phiri said, “Australia’s commitment to the refugee programme in Bangladesh, especially by funding new shelters has already resulted in improvement in the health and protection of the refugees.

According to insiders, the Burmese military junta will provide 30 percent and the UNHCR will provide 70 percent for the development of health, education and communication of Rohingya people in Arakan State. But, the Burmese military regime will take the 30 percent of the funds from Rohingya businessmen.

The Deputy Home Minister Brig General Phone Swe had already taken some millions of kyat from Rohingya businessmen for the development of health, education and communication in northern Arakan, said a businessman from Maungdaw Town
Published by Mike Hitchen, Mike Hitchen Consulting
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