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Australia ups aid for Rohingyas

A Rohingya migrant in a police van in Thailand, 31/01
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled Burma

The Australian foreign minister has said his country will give a further $1.5m to help displaced people from the Rohingya ethnic minority in Burma.

Stephen Smith said the additional funds raise the amount of money committed by Australia to over $3m.

Several hundred Rohingya people have been rescued from the sea in recent months after allegedly being beaten and set adrift by the Thai navy.

Thai authorities have denied any mistreatment of the people.

Hundreds of Rohingyas were rescued by Indian and Indonesian coastguards - some are being cared for in the Indonesian province of Aceh.

Mr Smith said the issue would be high on the agenda when he met with his Indonesian counterpart, Hassan Wirajuda, for regional talks on people trafficking next month.

Recently Bangladesh took back 49 Rohingyas who were rescued by the Indian coast guard two months ago.

Bangladesh was given a list of 67 Rohingyas by Indian authorities. Dhaka said 49 were its citizens.

The Rohingyas are originally from Burma but after fleeing that country to escape persecution, they have mostly settled in southern Bangladesh.

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