Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Indonesian Red Cross to help displaced people in Rakhine State

Tuesday, 11 September 2012 13:01 Mizzima News

The Indonesian Red Cross has agreed to provide financial and technical assistance for short and long-term programs in response to the refugee crisis in Rakhine State in Burma.

Chairman Jusuf Kalla on Saturday said the aid would be non-partisan and would apply lessons learned from handling similar ethnic conflicts in Indonesia.

Jusuf Kalla as vice president with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono  Photo: presidensby.info

“In our country we had an ethnic conflict that left 5,000 people dead in Poso, and we managed to stop this trouble before it reached other parts of the country. We have to do the same here,” Kalla said in a speech before signing the agreement with the Myanmar Red Cross Society.

Chairman Hla Shwe said that Indonesia’s support would significantly help refugees.

“The support will strengthen our efforts to provide aid to all affected communities based purely on need and irrespective of religious, racial and other considerations,” he said, in a story published by the Jakarta Post on Monday.

The PMI would also join a project to build homes for the displaced Rohingyas, he said.

“A number of OIC [Organization of Islamic Cooperation] members have pledged financial assistance for this,”Kalla said, shortly before the signing ceremony.

Kalla added that so far the OIC commitment had reached more than US$100 million.

He said that the PMI would likely stay in Rakhine State for the post-conflict reconstruction program.

The mission to help Burma was the first for Indonesia in neighboring countries, adding that it was the result of cooperation between the Red Cross and the Burmese government.

More than 800,000 Rohingya Muslims live in Burma, but they are not recognized by the government as one of its ethnic groups. Deadly summer clashes between the Muslim Rohingya and the Buddhist majority have forced many to flee to neighboring Bangladesh, where the European Union says 40,000 unregistered Rohingya already live in makeshift camps.

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