Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Thursday (31/08) launched a humanitarian assistance program for Myanmar, which aims to provide support for inclusive development in the neighboring country’s northern Rakhine State. (JG Photo/Sheany)

Foreign Affairs Ministry Launches Humanitarian Program in Myanmar

BY :SHEANY

AUGUST 31, 2017

Jakarta. Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi on Thursday (31/08) launched a humanitarian assistance program for Myanmar to provide support for inclusive development in the northern Rakhine State.

"We want to see economic growth in the Rakhine State, where there should be security and harmony among all the people living in the area," Retno said during the official launch of the Humanitarian Assistance for Sustainable Community (Hasco) program at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs headquarters in Jakarta.

The program will be conducted by 11 organizations grouped under the Indonesian Humanitarian Alliance for Myanmar (AKIM) and has already begun humanitarian operations since the middle of this year. The program is funded by donations made by Indonesians – valued at $2 million – and will run for another two years.

So far, Hasco has provided assistance for roadworks as well as shelters and food provisions. AKIM head coordinator Ali Yusuf said the organization has been in close contact with authorities in Myanmar, while also working in tandem with local and international non-governmental organizations in the area.

"The most important thing is that this is an inclusive program, all communities in Rakhine State – regardless of their religion or ethnicity – we will provide them with the help they need," Ali said.

According to Retno, Hasco is a great example of a successful synergy between the government and civil societies of various backgrounds. She pointed out that Hasco's efforts to help the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar are supported by organizations across different religions in Indonesia.

During the launch of the program, Retno also highlighted recent breakthroughs in Indonesia-Myanmar relations, including an ongoing plan to build a hospital in Rakhine State.

"This project has been ongoing for some time. We’ve acquired the permit and the building design has also been finished. Currently we’re planning to begin construction in October," Retno said.

The foreign minister noted that the hospital project has been conducted in close coordination with Myanmar authorities, and that the construction process will involve locals in Rakhine State.

"Because locals are involved, we will be able to help the economy in Rakhine State," Retno said.

Indonesia has played an active role in the reconciliation and democratization process in Myanmar, and consistently emphasized the importance of humanitarian efforts to preserve peace and stability in the troubled region.

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