Burma

International Development written question – answered on 20th March 2014.

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Photo of Paul Blomfield Paul Blomfield Labour, Sheffield Central

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent discussions she has had with the Burmese Government on its commitment to release Rohingya political prisoners held in Buthidaung and Maungdaw prisons.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan The Minister of State, Department for International Development

DFID welcomed President Thein Sein's order in December 2013 to release all prisoners and persons facing trial for political offences. However, we are concerned there are individuals in prison whose status is disputed. During the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my right hon. Friend Mr Swire’s visit to Burma at the end of January, he personally raised the issue of political prisoners with Soe Thane, Minister of the President's Office, and urged the Government to release all remaining political prisoners. With Shwe Mann, Speaker of the Lower House, he also raised the issue of activists who are being charged under legislation which is not in line with international standards. We will continue to push the Burmese Government to ensure that its review mechanism is comprehensive and transparent, leading to the release of all political prisoners.

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