Burma

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 4th July 2012.

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Photo of John Pugh John Pugh Liberal Democrat, Southport

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of human rights abuses against the Rohingya people in Burma.

Photo of David Lidington David Lidington The Minister for Europe

Despite the positive developments we have seen in Burma over the past year, the Rohingya continue to be denied citizenship and remain amongst the most discriminated against peoples in the world.

The recent inter-communal violence in Rakhine State in western Burma has highlighted both the fragility of the situation in Burma, and has drawn further and much needed attention to the plight of the Rohingya. The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr Browne, issued a statement on 10 June, which expressed his deep concern about the ongoing violence. We remain concerned about the humanitarian situation in Rakhine state which the UK and international community will continue to monitor very closely.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), and the Prime Minister also raised this matter with senior members of the Burmese Government, and met with members of the Rohingya community to hear their concerns first hand, during their respective visits in January and April. Ministers also raised their concerns with Aung San Suu Kyi during her recent visit to the United Kingdom.

Our ambassador to Burma regularly raises the ongoing discrimination of the Rohingya with the Burmese Government, including most recently with the Home Minister. We regularly speak with Rohingya groups, and non-governmental organisations monitoring the situation, both inside and outside the country. At the Human Rights Council in March we secured a resolution which expressed the need to recognise the Rohingya's right to nationality, and the urgent need to respect their human rights. We will continue to raise this issue with the Burmese Government, with international partners and in international organisations, until the matter is resolved.

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