10/05/2018, 09.58
MYANMAR
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Rohingya, Naypyidaw builds new villages for returning refugees

Each settlement will include a market, a school, a public park and a clinic. The Burmese government continues to repeat that the country "is ready to welcome refugees". Facilities already built in 19 locations, some of which are for Rakhine ethnic people. Taking advantage of the widespread feeling of fear, the nationalists demand that the Muslim and Buddhist communities be separated.

Naypyidaw (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The government of Myanmar has started to build another 12 "model villages" in the municipality of Maungdaw, in the north of Rakhine, to host the Rohingya refugees who should return from Bangladesh.

In order to facilitate the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of refugees, Naypyidaw and Dhaka signed a deal in early 2018. However, none have yet returned to Maungdaw through official channels. Meanwhile, the Burmese government continues to repeat that the country is ready to welcome the Rohingya.

Representatives of the executive, including Union Minister U Kyaw Tint Swe and Social Welfare Minister, Win Myat Aye, reiterated this position during the UN General Assembly in progress in New York. Defenders of the Islamic minority - including Prof. Waka Uddin of Pennsylvania State University, who serves as the general director of the Araq Rohingya Union (Aru) - say, however, that Naypyidaw has not yet managed to prepare suitable structures to receive refugees.

U Ye Htoo, an administrative officer in the district of Maungdaw, explains that the local authorities are working on two projects: the construction of modest homes for refugees, under the supervision of the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine (Uehrd); the implementation of the "model village" plan, which is still ongoing.

The administrator states that, under Uehrd management, structures have been set up in 19 locations, some of which are intended for people of Rakhine ethnicity (an autochthonous population of Buddhist religion). However, U Ye Htoo has not communicated a specific number of houses under construction for Rohingya and non-Muslim groups. At the moment, he reports that the government has identified 12 priority sites and each village will include a market, a school, a public park and a clinic.

Meanwhile the government of the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by the democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi, is following up on commitments made with Bangladesh and the United Nations (UN). Taking advantage of the widespread fear of possible Islamist infiltration in the region, Rakhine nationalists and politicians demand that Muslim and Buddhist communities be separated; that the south of Maungdaw is declared a " Muslim free zone".

Before the outbreak of the latest sectarian violence, the tribals of the region (Buddhists and Hindus) were about a tenth of the Muslims. During the armed clashes, many lost their lives at the hands of Rohingya militants. According to U Ye Htoo, the authorities will restore the Muslim communities both north and south of the city.

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