Germany stops development aid for Myanmar

Because the state does not protect the Muslim minority, Myanmar is no longer receiving German financial assistance for the time being. One million Rohingya live in camps in Bangladesh.

Germany has suspended development cooperation with Myanmar. The reason is the way the Rohingya minority treated. “Myanmar should guarantee the return of the total of one million refugees to safety and protect the Rohingya still living in the country,” said Federal Development Minister Gerd Mueller (CSU) during a trip through Bangladesh. Until this happens, he said, cooperation would be temporarily halted.

In 2017, around 750,000 people belonging to the Muslim Rohingya minority displaced from Myanmar, which is predominantly Buddhist, following coordinated attacks by the military. In the meantime, a total of one million Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh. United Nations investigators speak of an “ongoing genocide”. According to them, soldiers have murdered thousands of people, raped women and children, destroyed villages and burned people in their homes.

According to the ministry, the Rohingya live in catastrophic conditions in the refugee camps. Müller said after visiting the largest Rohingya refugee camp in Kutupalong, the fate of the Rohingya “has deeply moved me”. This “ethnic cleansing and the crimes committed against the people are unacceptable.”

According to Müller, Germany will change its financial aid. Money is going to refugee camps and communities in Bangladesh that receive refugees. Fifteen million euros are to go to projects for school education and sewage solutions. Mr Müller also spoke in favour of putting more pressure on Myanmar so that the government takes immediate measures to protect the Rohingya. Europe should also consider further sanctions, for example in the areas of visa issuance or trade, the minister said.

A case against Myanmar is currently before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague. The ICJ is to clarify whether Myanmar’s armed forces have violated the 1948 Genocide Convention by their actions against the Muslim minority. The head of government, Aung San Suu Kyi, who awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, also had to appear in court. There she defended her country’s actions against the Rohingya. In January, the ICJ ordered Myanmar to take a series of urgent measures to protect the Rohingya.

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