Burma

Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs written question – answered on 20th March 2014.

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Photo of Stephen Twigg Stephen Twigg Shadow Minister (Justice) (Political and Constitutional Reform)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his Burmese counterpart on ensuring that the upcoming census will not further endanger the Rohingya communities and any other minority groups in Burma. [R]

Photo of Hugo Swire Hugo Swire The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office

During my visit to Burma, 28-30 January 2014, I raised the British Government's deep concerns about the situation in Rakhine State and discussed the census and its associated risks with Minister in the President's Office U Soe Thane. I also discussed the census with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

The Burmese Minister for National Planning, U Kan Zaw, visited London 10-13 March: in separate meetings the Minister of State, Department for International Development, my right hon. Friend Mr Duncan and my noble Friend, the Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the right hon. Baroness Warsi, reiterated the importance of pursuing urgent action in Rakhine State to protect the human rights of the Rohingya community.

The UK is a lead donor to the census; we have been working with other donors, the Burmese Government and the UN to manage and mitigate the risks, to ensure as peaceful, credible and complete a process as possible. In January, our ambassador discussed the census with ethnic armed group leaders in Chiang Mai. The Head of DFID Burma accompanied the Burmese Minister for Immigration and Population on a visit to Rakhine State in February to discuss the census with the Rohingya and Rakhine communities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office Director for Asia Pacific and the British ambassador discussed the census with Rohingya leaders on 18 March.

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