Guwahati, July 13, 2019:
India has handed over 250 prefabricated houses it built in Myanmar’s Rakhine state as part of a broader effort to help tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to return, an Indian official said on Thursday.
The houses, which were handed over to Myanmar authorities earlier this week, are in the villages of Shwe Zar, Kyein Chaung Taung and Nant Thar Taung.
Activists say that development projects in Rakhine will have little impact unless human rights issues are addressed.
The Indian official said Myanmar authorities had given New Delhi a list of 21 more projects for Rakhine, including schools and marketplaces.
India has deepened ties with Myanmar in recent years, including military cooperation, as a way to push back against China’s expansive involvement in infrastructure development across south Asia.
The Rohingya people are a stateless Indo-Aryan ethnic group who reside in Rakhine State, Myanmar. There were an estimated 1 million Rohingya living in Myanmar before the 2016–17 crisis. By December 2017, an estimated 625,000 refugees from Rakhine, Myanmar, had crossed the border into Bangladesh since August 2017.
The Rohingya have faced military crackdowns in 1978, 1991–1992, 2012, 2015, 2016–2017 and particularly in 2017-2018, when most of the Rohingya population of Myanmar was driven out of the country, into neighboring Bangladesh.
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