Australia's efforts to promote peace and stability in Myanmar encompass development assistance for peace and democratic governance, humanitarian assistance, and diplomatic engagement on human rights, humanitarian access, peacebuilding and democratic reform. Securing sustainable peace between Myanmar's government and ethnic armed groups is essential to the success of Myanmar's reform process.
Safety, Humanitarian and Women's Empowerment Program
The Safety, Humanitarian and Women's Empowerment program supports activities to address education, protection and sexual and gender-based violence in Myanmar and in the Thai-Myanmar border refugee camps.
The UN estimates that over 860,000 people in Myanmar need humanitarian assistance, including more than 530,000 Rohingya in Rakhine State. The Rohingya community continues to depend on humanitarian assistance to survive, as severe restrictions obstruct their access to income and essential services. Ongoing conflict and violence in Kachin and northern Shan states has displaced more than 100,000 people and is driving serious concerns for their safety and wellbeing. Refugee camps along the Thai border are home to around 98,000 refugees from southeast Myanmar.
Australia provides humanitarian assistance to enable those affected by conflict and displacement to lead safe and dignified lives. In Rakhine, Kachin, northern Shan, and southeast Myanmar, Australia supports the Red Cross Movement, UN agencies and international and local NGOs to deliver essential supplies and services, with a focus on protecting vulnerable women and children. On the Thai border, Australia's partners deliver health and education services and provide access to justice within the refugee camps. Australia is also supporting refugees preparing to return to Myanmar when conditions are appropriate. To date, approximately 4,100 people have returned to Myanmar.
Australia is a principled humanitarian donor. We provide humanitarian assistance based on need and do not discriminate on the basis of ethnicity or religion. Australia supports the reform of the humanitarian system in Myanmar by contributing to pooled funds and connecting our humanitarian and development programs and stakeholders.
Case study: Meeting women’s needs in Myanmar during humanitarian crises
The Australian Government is pleased to support UNFPA's work on women's health, safety and dignity in Kachin State. UNFPA Myanmar dignity kits reach women and girls who have fled armed conflict in Kachin. The dignity kits support female hygiene and protect the health and safety of displaced women.
Myanmar-Australia Peace Support Program
$29.2 million, 2016-2019
The peace process is the Myanmar Government's highest stated priority. It is taking this forward by implementing the 2015 Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement (NCA) and encouraging non-signatory ethnic armed groups to sign the NCA and participate in the formal political dialogue.
Australian aid supports parties to the peace process to achieve national peace and reconciliation for the benefit of all people in Myanmar. Our assistance supports partners to strengthen community engagement in the peace process, enhance the representation of women, implement ceasefire monitoring arrangements, improve cooperation between conflict actors, and encourage transparency in negotiations.
The following facilities fall under the MAPS program:
- Joint Peace Fund - The JPF has been set up to support the people of Myanmar to navigate the path towards long-term peace in their country. Primarily this means providing financial and technical support to the nationally owned peace process led jointly by the Government and ethnic armed groups. Australia is a founding partner of the JPF, which now has eleven international donors.
- Paung Sie Facility - The PSF funds locally-driven, catalytic activities and projects that focus primarily on enhancing social cohesion in Myanmar communities. PSF plays an important role in promoting the women, peace and security agenda in Myanmar's peace process.
Supporting Reform, Improving Governance
$30.1 million, 2014-2022
The Myanmar Government is continuing its complex political, economic and social reforms. Australian aid is supporting Myanmar's democratic transition by promoting inclusive participation in electoral processes, strengthening democratic institutions, and promoting the rule of law and access to justice. We partner with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and the UN Development Program in promoting democratic governance in Myanmar.
Myanmar Gender Equality and Women's Empowerment
$0.2 million, 2017-2019
Through this investment, Australia is supporting women's political participation in Myanmar.
While the number of women parliamentarians at the national level doubled in the 2015 Myanmar election, they still only make up 10.2 per cent of all Members of Parliament (MPs). For women who achieve elected office, it is important they receive support to stay there and to do well in a male dominated environment.
As part of the Myanmar Women Parliamentarians' Mentoring Program, six Myanmar women Members of Parliament (MPs), the 'mentees', undertake an exchange to Australia to engage face-to-face with their 'mentors', Australian women MPs and former MPs.