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Press Release:

Canada Renewed Support for Burmese Refugees and Displaced People

March 6, 2010

Saskatoon (Saskatchewan)  ― On behalf of the Honourable Beverley J. Oda, Minister of International Cooperation, Kelly Block, Member of Parliament for Saskatoon-Rosetown-Biggar, today announced the Government of Canada will continue support for Burmese refugees and displaced persons living in Burma's border areas.

"Canada's renewed support builds on the significant results being achieved in Burma's border areas. Over the past five years, CIDA-funded health care initiatives have treated nearly one million cases of malaria, acute respiratory infections, tuberculosis, and severe malnutrition, provided food aid to approximately 145,000 refugees, and health care services to approximately 500,000 refugees," said Minister Oda. "These results, along with support for community-based organizations working on human rights and environmental issues, demonstrate how Canada's assistance is helping those in need."

"Canada, through this support, is focusing on meeting the needs of people in the border areas," said Ms. Block. "This funding will contribute to building capacity within the Burmese population, while ensuring that basic services, such as health care and food are provided to both refugees and surrounding communities."

The renewed funding amounts to $15.9 million over five years, and builds on CIDA's $12.4 million contribution for assistance in the region provided over the previous five years. CIDA is continuing to provide assistance in the region through Inter Pares Canada, a Canadian humanitarian organization, which supports numerous organizations, including the Thailand-Burma Border Consortium and the Mae Tao Clinic.
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Information:

Jessica Fletcher
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Cooperation
Telephone:               819-953-6238         819-953-6238

Media Relations Office
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA)
Telephone:               819-953-6534         819-953-6534
E-mail: media@acdi-cida.gc.ca


Backgrounder
Adressing Basic Needs of Burmese Refugee and Displaced Persons
Conditions in the border regions of Burma are dire and continue to deteriorate in the face of escalating Burmese military action against ethnic minority groups. There are more than 140,000 refugees in camps in Thailand and more than 500,000 internally displaced Burmese. These numbers continue to rise as many Burmese flee states that border on Thailand, China, India and Bangladesh to escape conflict, forced relocation, or forced labour.

Support from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) for the Burma Border Assistance Program assists refugees and displaced Burmese citizens living near the Burmese border through food assistance, health care and human rights work to help Burmese refugees and displaced persons living in Burma's border areas. The renewed support is in place for another five years.

Canada's efforts are already achieving significant results. During the past five years, for example, CIDA supported health care initiatives have treated nearly one million cases of malaria, acute respiratory infections, tuberculosis, and severe malnutrition. CIDA's contribution also enabled local organizations to provide health and humanitarian services to affected populations and to undertake initiatives aimed at securing the future for children and youth.

With the Canadian government's renewed support there will continue to be an emphasis on building local expertise in anticipation of a political solution to the problems in Burma. When adequate government services such as health care for border area states are established and when civil society inside Burma can function openly, the people trained by this project will have the skills and knowledge necessary to for employment in civil and state organizations.

 


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