Further aid for Rakhine State, Myanmar

Media release

7 November 2012

Foreign Minister Bob Carr today announced a further $2 million in emergency aid to victims of violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar — lifting Australia's contribution to $3 million for food and essential items.

Senator Carr said United Nations' reports indicate over 35,000 people have been forced to leave their homes since violence flared again in late October.

'We are deeply concerned about the security and humanitarian situation in Rakhine State.

'An estimated 110,000 people are internally displaced.

'Over 80 people have been killed and around 5,000 homes and other buildings have been destroyed.

'Humanitarian assistance is needed urgently and Australian aid will supply tents, food, blankets, clothing, mosquito nets and cooking equipment for people who have fled their homes.

'The funding will also provide protection to children living in temporary shelters who have been separated from their families.

'In June I expressed Australia's concern about the situation in Rakhine State when I met Myanmar President U Thein Sein in Naypyidaw.

'Prime Minister Julia Gillard also raised this issue with Myanmar's President on Monday during a meeting in Laos.

'I raised this matter with Foreign Minister U Wunna Maung Lwin at the UN in New York last month and again on October 25 during his visit to Australia.

'Our Ambassador to Myanmar visited Rakhine State with Ambassadors from the United Kingdom and the United States from November 1-3 to assess the situation on the ground.

'I welcome President Thein Sein's commitment to ensure increased security and accountability and his decision to establish a commission to investigate the situation in Rakhine.

'I urge the Myanmar Government to protect all communities in Rakhine State and to ensure emergency supplies are delivered safely to people in affected areas,' Senator Carr said.

Senator Carr also urged political and community leaders on all sides to work together to end the violence and work towards reconciliation, in accordance with the rule of law.

Australia is the third largest bilateral contributor in foreign aid to the humanitarian emergency in Rakhine.

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