A controversial census in Burma which was part paid for by British aid money helped trigger violence which has led to the deaths of children.
Support our call for an inquiry into why £10m of British aid helped pay for a census which triggered violence which left thousands of people without food or medical care.
Burma Campaign UK has long supported increasing aid to Burma, as long as it helps the people, not the government. But since Thein Sein became President and promised reforms, the British government has started using tens of millions of pounds of aid money to help the Burmese government, including £10m ($16m) for a national census.
Many organisations in Burma, and outside Burma, including Burma Campaign UK, warned that now is not the right time for the census as it could make ethnic and religious tensions worse, and trigger violence. International donors, including the British government, ignored these warnings, and the census began last week.
Those warnings have sadly proven correct, with rising tensions caused by the census in Rakhine (Arakan) State leading to violent protests in which a child has been killed, international aid agencies being attacked and staff forced to flee the state; tens of thousands of internally displaced Rohingya are in danger of running out of food and water.
The government of Burma has already banned one aid agency from providing medical care to the Rohingya. Now all the rest have had to flee. Tens of thousands of displaced Rohingya have no medical care. Children are dying from treatable illnesses, because there is no-one to help them.
To make matters even worse, the government of Burma went back on its word and has banned Rohingya from being able to register as Rohingya in the census. Instead they are being registered as Bengali, or not registered at all. British aid is paying for a census which discriminates against the Rohingya.
Please email Justine Greening, Secretary of State for International Development, calling for an inquiry into why her Department for International Development (DFID) funded a census which increased ethnic tensions, triggered violence which has led to deaths, and which discriminates against the Rohingya.
Burma Campaign UK
PS: The £10 million of British aid spent on the census is almost ten times what DFID gives each year for food for refugees on the Thailand Burma border who fled Burmese Army attacks and who are suffering from rations cuts, and is more than DFID has given over three years for ethnic Kachin who fled Burmese Army attacks since ‘reforms’ began.
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