Human Rights: Burma

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:44 pm on 18th January 2017.

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Photo of Alex Salmond Alex Salmond Shadow SNP Westminster Group Leader (International Affairs and Europe) 12:44 pm, 18th January 2017

I congratulate Paul Scully on securing this important urgent question. The Minister has expressed concern about the disappearance of the two ethnic Kachin Baptist leaders who were apparently forcibly disappeared over Christmas, and he has also called for unfettered access for the United Nations special rapporteur. Can he confirm that both those matters have already been specifically raised with the Burmese ambassador in London, and that the Foreign Secretary will raise both specific matters in his talks in Burma next week?

The Minister rather sidestepped the question on action through the UN by saying that the Government’s opinion is that there is not sufficient consensus at the present time to take forward such action. Can he go further? When the special rapporteur returns and reports to the UN, will he undertake on behalf of the Government to use every possible effort to build consensus on an urgent and independent United Nations commission as a result of the special rapporteur’s visit? Will the Government commit to trying to build that consensus, as opposed to merely remarking that it does not exist?