The Nippon Foundation Delivers Relief Goods for Myanmar's Ethnic Minorities
TOKYO, Dec. 26, 2012 /CNW/ - Japan's The Nippon Foundation, which had promised to donate $3 million in emergency aid to promote peace between the government of Myanmar and the country's ethnic minorities, completed the delivery of its first shipment of relief goods to Mon State in southern Myanmar by December 25. The shipment, delivered in five large trucks, consisted of rice and medicines. The supplies will be delivered to areas for internally displaced people before the end of the year.
The emergency aid was realized thanks to the exchange of two memorandums; between The Nippon Foundation and the government of Myanmar, and between The Nippon Foundation and the United Nationalities Federal Council (UNFC), which is a federation of 11 armed minority groups. This is the first aid to be extended by a private organization with the agreement of the government and minority groups in Myanmar. The aid goods will be delivered to other areas for displaced minorities as soon as transportation routes are secured.
On December 22, a ceremony with government representatives, ethnic Mon residents and children, totaling 600 people, was held in the Mon State capital of Mawlamyine. Mr. Aung Min, a chief Minister of U Thein Sein's presidential office and principal peace negotiator, said that many international nongovernment organizations (NGOs) have begun to support the building of peace in Myanmar and that the Nippon Foundation was a representative of these organizations.
The Nippon Foundation Chairman Yohei Sasakawa, who is also the Japanese government's Goodwill Ambassador for the Welfare of the National Races in Myanmar, responded by saying, "I would like to make the present relief efforts a catalyst for realizing peace." Chairman Nai Htaw Mon of the New Mon State Party (NMSP), who is negotiating peace with the government, welcomed the aid, saying that it would constitute the first step toward promoting political dialogue with the government.
Myanmar's civil war between government forces and minority groups has lasted for more than 60 years, forcing more than one million people of ethnic minorities to find refuge in Thailand and other neighboring countries as well as in Myanmar's mountainous regions.
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