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House of Lords written question – answered on 20th July 2011.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of displaced people in Burma's Kachin State following the ending of the cease-fire agreement between the Burmese Army and the Kachin Independence Army.

Photo of Lord Howell of Guildford Lord Howell of Guildford Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (International Energy Policy)

The Government are deeply concerned by reports that the ceasefire agreement in Kachin State has broken down, leading to renewed conflict and the internal displacement of up to 20,000 people, according to local sources. The number of people who may have crossed the China-Burma border as a result of the fighting is hard to determine as access to information about the situation on the ground is limited. We understand that conflict is reported to have started over local objections to a Chinese hydro-electric dam construction project, but tensions in ethnic areas are increasing following efforts by the Government to force armed ethnic groups to join a national border guard force.

Our ambassador to Rangoon raised concerns with the Burmese Government on 9 and 10 June. We also remain in close contact with UN agencies and other organisations working in the areas affected by the fighting. We are clear that peace and stability in Burma can be achieved only through a process of genuinely inclusive dialogue that addresses the concerns and longstanding grievances of ethnic groups.

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