Japan denounced for grant to Myanmar police

Bangkok, Jul 23 (efe-epa).- Human Rights Watch denounced Japan on Thursday for aid to Myanmar’s police, which it said has a “well-documented record of serious human rights violations”.

The human rights organization called on the Japanese government to cancel plans to donate money to purchase vehicles and communications equipment for the force.

Japan’s foreign ministry announced on 2 July that it will give a 100 million yen (US$930,000) grant to the Myanmese Police.

It said the donation would strengthen the force’s “ability to carry out public security measures”, create social stability and contribute to Myanmar’s socio-economic development.

Brad Adams, HRW Asia director, said in a statement: “It’s inexplicable that the Japanese government would try to curry favor with Myanmar’s abusive security apparatus by providing financial assistance to the police.

“Instead of supporting Myanmar’s police, Japan should be helping the victims of rights abuses and ethnic cleansing by working with other donor governments to hold the security forces accountable.”

The police operate under the authority of the home affairs ministry, which is led by a minister who the constitution mandates must be a serving military officer, and operates under de facto control of Myanmar’s military, according to HRW.

The Myanmese army has been responsible for human rights violations in numerous conflicts it has waged for decades against ethno-nationalist guerrillas in the country’s peripheral regions, which are inhabited by dozens of ethnic minorities.

Myanmar also faces an accusation of genocide in the International Court of Justice for 2016 and 2017 military operations against the predominantly Rohingya Muslim population in the state of Rakhine, which resulted in thousands of deaths from the ethnic group and the flight of more than 800,000 refugees to neighboring Bangladesh.

The army’s operations were supported by the Border Guard Police, a special force based in Rakhine which for years has persecuted the Rohingya.

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