Myanmar

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:03 pm on 2nd February 2021.

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Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 3:03 pm, 2nd February 2021

I thank the hon. Gentleman for the tone of his response, and also for welcoming the international engagement, in particular at the UN Security Council. As he rightly remarks, as penholder, we have brought forward by a day a meeting on Myanmar at the Council as a matter of urgency, and that meeting will take place in New York this afternoon.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned sanctions on the military. I politely point out to him that we have already imposed sanctions on 16 individuals responsible for human rights violations in Myanmar, including six individuals named by the UN fact-finding mission report. However, of course we will work closely with our international partners to consider next steps in that regard and we will constantly consider all the tools at our disposal.

The hon. Gentleman asked whether we would support an international arms embargo. We are a long-standing supporter of an arms embargo in Myanmar. We worked with EU partners to secure and tighten a strong EU arms embargo following the 2017 Rohingya crisis. Since we left the EU, we have transitioned this into domestic law. Our autonomous sanctions regulations prohibit the provision of military-related services, including the provision of technical assistance, to or for the benefit of the Tatmadaw.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned the case brought by the Gambia. We have been very clear in our support for the ICJ process, which is putting pressure on Myanmar, and particularly the military, to do more to protect the Rohingya. We have pressed the civilian Government to engage constructively and transparently, and we urge the military to comply with the provisional measures ruling.

The hon. Gentleman mentioned Bangladesh. We are working very closely with the Bangladesh authorities and we are speaking with the Bangladesh Government. We are the second largest donor to support the Rohingya who are currently in Bangladesh.

We are following the advice very carefully of our post in Yangon on the situation involving UK nationals. We will continue to update British nationals in that regard. They are advised to stay at home, to make only essential journeys and to continue to check travel advice and embassy social media pages. I have spoken with our ambassador on a couple of occasions over the last 24 hours, and we continue to closely monitor the situation.