Rohingya Refugee Crisis

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

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

We are standing up in New York and in Geneva on a daily basis and being counted on this very issue—trying to take a lead. The Kachin and Shan issue is not an isolated example. This goes back to the issue of our being penholders, and one can look back through history to 1824 or 1945, but one of the desperate things is that those minorities fought on our side during the war while the Burmese Buddhist majority sided with the Japanese, and that is one of the reasons why we have an historical moral and ethical imperative. A number of those minorities have been considered as beyond the pale and not as citizens partly as a result of that episode; essentially that was seen as somehow being against the moves for Burma to have independence from the United Kingdom.

With the House’s indulgence, I will touch on two more points. I will write to Members on some of the specifics, because I would rather not say anything inaccurate. With regard to family reunion for refugees, I believe that the Home Office has written to the hon. Member for Bradford East, stating that the UK Government strongly support family unity, and that the Home Office has a comprehensive framework in place for refugees and their families. He made a good point that the refugees in Cox’s Bazar clearly cannot go to Dhaka anytime soon to exercise those rights. He made the point on the Floor of the House, and I will do my best and will write to the Home Office to make clear his concerns.