Rohingya: Monsoon Season — [Siobhain McDonagh in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 1:30 pm on 8th May 2018.

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Photo of Jo Stevens Jo Stevens Labour, Cardiff Central 1:30 pm, 8th May 2018

I do have some information. An island has been identified as a potential space for refugees to move to. I am concerned about it because, as I understand it, the island is like a floodplain, so people would not be in a better position were they to be moved there. I hope that the Minister can give us more information about that, if he has been discussing it with the Bangladeshi Government.

Agreements have been reached with other refugee-hosting nations, including Jordan, Lebanon and Ethiopia, which provides an indication of what can be achieved with the right package of support, combined with strong partnerships. In my view, strong partnerships and political leadership on the rights of the Rohingya, and action against Burma for its gross violations of international law, must go hand in hand. I want our Government to take a lead.

In January, I wrote to the Minister for Asia and the Pacific, Mark Field, at the Foreign Office to ask the Government to support a referral to the International Criminal Court. In February, I was one of 100 parliamentarians who wrote to the Foreign Secretary in exactly the same terms. What was the response of the Burmese Government? It was to ban individual members of the International Development Committee from visiting Burma. The Minister will say that a UN Security Council resolution on a referral might be vetoed by Russia and China, but that is exactly why we in the UK must start to support a referral, building global support—from the European Union, the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation and other countries—to overcome such opposition. Our Government can hardly ask other countries to support a referral when they do not even call for one themselves.