Myanmar parliament approves $15M for Rakhine border fence

Myanmar's parliament has approved a budget of about $15 million for the construction of a fence and related projects along the border with Bangladesh in Rakhine state, from which about 700,000 members of its persecuted ethnic Rohingya Muslim minority have fled violence since last August.

Lawmaker Myo Zaw Aung said Friday the budget was proposed by the Home Affairs Ministry, the Defense Ministry and the Border Affairs Ministry, which are all controlled by the military.

Deputy Home Affairs Minister Gen. Aung Soe testified Thursday, the day the budget was approved, that fences covering 202 kilometers (126 miles) of the 293-kilometer (182-mile) border have already been completed.

There is widespread prejudice against the Rohingya because they are seen as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, although they are long-time settlers.