Monday, November 23, 2009

Hatoyama Calls For UNHCR To Support Plan To Accept Myanmar Refugees


TOKYO, Nov 20 (Bernama)-- Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama on Thursday called on the United Nations refugee agency to support Japan's plan to accept Myanmar refugees from fiscal 2010, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported quoting the Japanese Foreign Ministry as saying.

During the meeting with U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, Hatoyama was quoted as saying that Japan needs the agency's continued cooperation for it to make a ''success'' of its acceptance of Myanmar refugees under a third-country resettlement program starting in the next fiscal year from April 2010.

Japan is set to accept about 30 refugees, who have fled the suppression of human rights by Myanmar's military government and currently live in border camps in Thailand, each year for three years from fiscal 2010 under the resettlement programme, according to ministry officials.

If realised, Japan will be the first Asian country to introduce the programme, which is designed to help people who have fled to nearby states because of conflict in their home countries but find it hard to settle there or return home.

In the half-hour meeting at the prime minister's office, Guterres responded that Japan's foreign policy and the UNHCR's support are heading toward the same goal and that Japan can expect continued support from the agency, according to the ministry.

The government will examine the outcome of the programme after the three years and decide whether to continue it, the officials said.

The introduction of the programme is apparently aimed at fending off criticism in the international community that Japan is not doing enough in the area of refugee support.

No comments: