Foreign Minister Bob Carr will travel to Myanmar next month for bilateral discussions with President Thein Sein and Foreign Minister Wunna including on human rights in Rakhine State.
Senator Carr said recent ethnic and sectarian violence in Rakhine State had claimed 192 lives and left 140,000 people homeless.
Senator Carr plans to travel to Myanmar from July 10 to 12.
“Communal violence broke out in Rakhine State between Buddhists and the Muslim Rohingya in June last year,” Senator Carr said.
“Australia and Myanmar have worked closely on a range of issues including the need for further action on human rights in Rakhine State.
“Australia is encouraging all efforts to find a solution to the situation — one that respects the rights of all people.
“In previous discussions, I have stressed with President Thein Sein and Foreign Minister Wunna the importance of resolving ethnic and sectarian unrest and addressing issues of citizenship for stateless minorities.
“I welcome President Thein Sein’s statements condemning religious extremism and urging mutual respect amongst local communities.
“Senator Carr said President Thein Sein's pledge to take all necessary action to stop the conflict and prosecute the perpetrators of violence was a step towards finding a lasting solution to the unrest.
Prime Minister Gillard had also raised Australia's concerns over ethnic conflicts directly with President Thein Sein, when President Thein Sein visited Australia in March earlier this year.
Australia has so far committed $5.8 million in humanitarian aid to assist displaced people in Rakhine State.
Australia’s assistance is providing:
- food to 100,000 displaced people (through the World Food Program)
- protection for 37,000 children who have been separated from their families (through Save the Children)
- tents and emergency shelter to 32,000 people who have fled or lost their homes (through UNHCR);
- blankets, clothes and mosquito nets for 14,000 people living in temporary shelters (through CARE); and
- safe drinking water and sanitation for 40,000 people (through UNICEF)
Australia is also providing $5 million to support peace-building in conflict affected regions including to the Myanmar Peace Centre.
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