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Friday, 04 November 2011 08:21

More Burmese people displaced in past year under 'democracy' than in previous ten

“Democratic reforms by the new Burmese government are welcomed, although the Burmese army has escalated its conflict with many ethnic groups,” said Alistair Gee, Executive Director of Act for Peace.
“The prospect of a genuine process of national reconciliation bringing an end to decades of war and displacement needs to be realised, and it needs to include the Burmese government bringing the Burmese army under control. Pressure from the international community, including Australia, will be important in making sure that the Burmese army is held to account for its crimes against humanity.”
The consortium involving Act for Peace has documented the destruction, forced relocation or abandonment of more than 3,700 villages in south east Burma since 1996. While some people have fled into Thailand, over 450,000 currently remain internally displaced in south east Burma.
“Surveys of displacement show why so many people continue to flee their homes in Burma, some of whom will be forced to flee across national borders. Most of the refugees in Malaysia are Burmese. We cannot hope to solve refugee movements affecting Australia and neighbouring countries in the Asia Pacific region unless we deal with the cause of their displacement,” said Mr Gee.
The survey also found that while Burmese government figures estimate that a quarter of the nation lives in poverty, almost two thirds of households in rural areas of the south east of Burma are unable to meet their basic needs.

Please click here to read the report Displacement and Poverty in South East Burma / Myanmar by the Thailand Burma Border Consortium.
Available for interview: Alistair Gee, Executive Director, Act for Peace.
Media enquiries: please contact Alistair Gee, Executive Director, on 0417 672 650 or at
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About Act for Peace: Act for Peace is the international aid agency of the National Council of Churches in Australia and a member of the global ACT Alliance. We empower war-torn communities to reduce poverty, protect refugees, and prevent further conflict. Our project partners are currently assisting more than one million people in the world's worst conflict affected areas, including Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sudan, Zimbabwe and Burma. www.actforpeace.org.au

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