Myanmar president urges Rakhine Buddhists to accept aid plan
August 01, 2014 16:18
Yangon - Myanmar President Thein Sein on Friday called on Buddhists in Rakhine to cooperate with the government and aid groups on implementing a development plan in the western state hit by ethnic violence with the minority Muslim community.
"I believe this may bring much benefit to all people who live in Rakhine state," he said in his monthly radio address. "So, I call people in Rakhine state on cooperation with government and aid groups to implement the plan in order to bring peace and development in the state."
The government last week invited international aid groups, including Doctors Without Borders (MSF), to resume work in Rakhine state nearly five months after they were forced out by Buddhists.
Buddhist mobs disrupted the work of aid organisations helping displaced minority Rohingya Muslims.
Local Buddhists accused the aid workers of siding with the Muslims during the ethnic violence that left some 280 people dead since 2012. Some 140,000 were made homeless, mostly Muslims.
Muslims account for less than 10 per cent of Myanmar's roughly 60 million people.
The Rohingya are particularly vulnerable, since they are considered stateless people by the government, which regards them as undocumented immigrants from Bangladesh.