Japan grants Myanmar $3 million to repatriate Rohingya Muslims | News | DW | 12.01.2018
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Japan grants Myanmar $3 million to repatriate Rohingya Muslims

Japan's government will grant Myanmar $3 million to assist in repatriating Rohingya Muslims to Rakhine state. A military crackdown has seen about 655,000 Rohingya Muslims flee to Bangladesh, with at least 6,700 deaths.

Japan's Foreign Minister Taro Kono on Friday urged Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi to safely repatriate Rohingya Muslims who have fled violence in Rakhine state, as the Japanese government pledged 330 million Japanese yen ($2.5 million; $3 million) to help facilitate the process.

During a meeting with Suu Kyi, Kono asked for her government to allow humanitarian and media access to the affected area, the resettlement of returned refugees and the implementation of recommendations made by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan.

Read more: Rohingya: Myanmar and Bangladesh sign deal to repatriate refugees

He also said Japan planned to give further aid of $20 million to improve humanitarian conditions and development in Rakhine state.

Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement on the repatriation of Rohingya refugees on November 23. Myanmar said it would start the process by January 23, but the exact numbers and extent of the repatriation is still unclear.

Read more: HRW: Myanmar continues to destroy Rohingya villages

The military crackdown in the northern state of Rakhine has prompted about 655,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to bordering Bangladesh and claimed at least 6,700 lives since August.

Watch video 01:32

Myanmar's role in the Rohingya crisis

Japan to monitor repatriation

"We have decided to provide the aid in response to the agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh to represent an international message of support so that the repatriation can be carried out promptly," said Japanese Foreign Ministry official Shinobu Yamaguchi in a statement, stressing that Japan would monitor the repatriation.

"The money will be paid in a timely manner based on the progress of repatriation," he said.

Read more: Myanmar court charges Reuters journalists under Official Secrets Act

The ministry said the grant was to "provide humanitarian assistance for rebuilding the living conditions, including provision of electricity generators, water purifiers, fuel and plastic containers” on the sites for resettlement of displaced Rohingya Muslims.

"This assistance is to contribute to the return and resettlement of the displaced persons assumed to reach up to the thousands or tens of thousands."

Read more: At least 6,700 Rohingya people killed, says Doctors Without Borders

Indian assistance

In December, India said it would provide Myanmar with $25 million for development projects, including prefabricated houses in Rakhine state.

India is concerned about the influx of the refugees into its territory and has stressed the economic development of the Rakhine region as a way to help lower tensions.

Read more: Rohingya crisis: Myanmar army clears itself of wrongdoing

Myanmar's Ministry of Information has blamed Rohingya militants for the violence in Rakhine.

The ministry said only 400 people have died in the conflict and that the violence started after a militant Rohingya group attacked police posts on August 25, prompting the crackdown by Myanmar troops. 

It labeled the 400 dead as "extreme terrorists" who died during military "clearance operations."

law/tj (AP, dpa)

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