Myanmar parliament has approved around Tk125 crore for the construction of a fence and related projects along the border with Bangladesh in Rakhine state, according to media reports.
According to AP
, lawmaker Myo Zaw Aung said the budget was proposed by the country’s Home Affairs Ministry, Defence Ministry and Border Affairs Ministry which are all controlled by the military.
The report also cites Myanmar’s Deputy Home Affairs Minister Gen Aung Soe who testified on Thursday, the day the budget was approved, that the fences – covering 202 kilometres of the 293-kilometre border – have already been completed.
Nearly 700,000 Rohingyas have fled violence in Rakhine state since last August and took shelter in Bangladesh.
In Myanmar, Rohingyas are regarded as “illegal immigrants from Bangladesh” by the majority even though members of the minority group are long-time settlers. Most Rohingyas are stateless and face widespread official and social prejudice.
Myanmar's Buddhist majority supports its military's actions against the Rohingya minority. According to AP, the military received around Tk41.72 crore from private Buddhist donors to fund the border fence in October last year.
Currently, negotiations between Bangladesh and Myanmar are underway for the Rohingya repatriation to their homeland. However, many experts and rights groups are concerned about the Rohingyas’ safety and voluntary return to Rakhine where most of their villages and houses were burned down.