Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 11th March 2013.

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Photo of Anne Main Anne Main Conservative, St Albans

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the outcomes were of the Senior Minister of State's recent visit to Bangladesh.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The Senior Minister of State, my right hon. and noble Friend Baroness Warsi, had a very successful trip to Bangladesh. She discussed a wide range of topics with various interlocutors.

With Bangladesh set for its next parliamentary elections by January 2014, the visit was an opportunity to deliver messages on the importance of free, fair and participatory elections to Bangladeshi Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, and the leader of the opposition, Khaleda Zia. Baroness Warsi also met with the Chief Election Commissioner to discuss Bangladesh's election preparations and the role of the Election Commission in helping to deliver free and fair elections.

The Minister raised our concerns about the International Crimes Tribunal and our absolute opposition to the death penalty in meetings with Sheikh Hasina and the Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Dipu Moni, during her visit. Furthermore, she raised the issue of disappearances, including that of Elias Ali and his driver and extra-judicial killings. Baroness Warsi, also became the first British Minister to visit the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox's Bazar and witnessed the seriousness of this humanitarian situation. She called on the Government of Bangladesh to continue allowing international aid to reach the Rohingya community and repeated our call for Burma to find a long-term solution for the Rohingya people.

The British Government will continue to discuss these issues with the Bangladesh Government at all opportunities.

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