Refugees and Human Rights

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 1:39 pm on 24th January 2018.

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Photo of Emily Thornberry Emily Thornberry Shadow Foreign Secretary 1:39 pm, 24th January 2018

The right hon. Gentleman advises the House simply to give up. We do not give up. We must work in a multilateral way, within the United Nations, and fight our corner. We should be a force for good. We should not allow the difficulties that we face make us say that it is all too hard and that we should simply walk away.

Let me make some progress. There no shortage of state persecution in our world, whether it is done by states such as Russia and Iran, which the Government rightly criticise, or those such as Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Philippines, whose abuses they choose to ignore. As we saw in Darfur exactly 15 years ago, when the state turns an entire group of people—even the children and the elderly—into military targets, it leaves families with an impossible choice: they must risk their lives by staying put, or risk their lives by fleeing. That is exactly what we have seen in Myanmar.

No one present needs any reminding of the horrors and hardship that the Rohingya have faced ever since the attacks in August. No one needs any telling of the desperate humanitarian situation in the camps on the Bangladesh border. No one needs any warning of the dangers of the proposed repatriation of the Rohingya. What we need to know is what action our Government are actually taking—not just to alleviate the situation, but to resolve it.