Rohingya Refugee Crisis

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:27 pm on 20th December 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Minister of State 3:27 pm, 20th December 2018

We have made it clear that we do not feel it is an appropriate place, for the reasons my hon. Friend rightly sets out. Out of sight is out of mind. There is a sense of it being almost like an Alcatraz or near enough some sort of holding pen, rather than a viable place for the longer term.

On my hon. Friend’s previous point about the joint response plan, which goes to the issue of the overall humanitarian response, I am afraid to say that at the moment, as the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby will know, it is only partially funded. The current figure is 68.9%, which is $654 million out of a $950 million expectation. The UK is, mainly through the international community in Geneva rather than New York, actively encouraging others to step up to do their share in fully funding the plan, including through DFID’s relationships with other donors and donor agencies.

Ultimately, we all know that the solution to the Rohingya crisis lies in Rakhine and in Burma more widely. The UN fact-finding mission—we are supportive of it and its evidence—uncovered evidence of a series of horrendous crimes. Its report makes for chilling reading. However, as I have said previously in this House, the Government believe that any judgment on whether genocide has occurred is not a political judgment but a matter for judicial decision. It is therefore critical that we work to ensure that a credible judicial process is put in place. The Burmese authorities want to demonstrate that there is no need for an international justice mechanism. They must show that their commission of inquiry will lead to an effective judicial process. I share many of the concerns expressed on the Opposition Benches about that process. What I would say is that the commission of inquiry does have high-ranking international observers. We therefore continue to maintain some hope, but it can work only if it properly holds to account those responsible for crimes, whether they are civilian or in the military.