Australia Seeks to Redirect Foreign Aid to Myanmar's Most Marginalised People Amid Coup
The goal: keep funds out of the hands of the nation's military.
The Australian government is working to redirect Australian aid funding in Myanmar to the nation's most marginalised people, like the Rohingyas, and out of the hands of the country's violent military, according to the Canberra Times.
Canberra's decision comes amid ongoing conflict between pro-democracy civilians and Myanmar's military, which seized power and thrust the nation into full military rule in a coup d’état in early February.
The conflict, which brought an end to a decade of civilian rule, has left thousands injured, 23,000 jailed and more than 510 dead.
Ridwaan Jadwat, from Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said the aid redirection was proving tough.
Slow-moving banks, railways and ports — all of which have been impacted by intensified violence across the nation — have delayed the government's hope to send funds to respected non-governmental organisations and partners on the ground and away from Myanmar's government departments.
"It's an ongoing process, and the situation remains volatile. It will obviously have a negative impact on how we are able to do our work on the ground," Jadwat said, according to the Canberra Times.
It's sad this wasn't done in response to the Myanmar military's genocidal campaign against the Rohingya in 2017.— Dr Ronan Lee ☘️🐨 (@Ronan_Lee) March 7, 2021
Australian government condemns violence against Myanmar protesters against military coup#WhatsHappeningInMyanmarhttps://t.co/ETExmMQ7lI
Australia's aid redirection follows other punitive actions by the country in protest of the unrest.
The nation has also suspended a military cooperation program between the two states, launched a parliamentary inquiry into the coup and issued a statement explicitly condemning the "use of lethal force or violence against civilians exercising their universal rights, including the right to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly."