Burma

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 5th February 2015.

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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 impact on human rights and religious liberties of Burma’s new Religious Conversion Bill and of other new bills in that country aimed at the protection of race and religion and which focus on restricting inter-faith marriage, monogamy and population control; and what representations they have made to the government of Burma on the matter.

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State

Restrictions on interfaith marriage, religious conversion and population growth are currently being debated in the Burmese parliament. We are concerned that, if enacted, these laws could harm religious tolerance and respect for diversity in Burma, and contravene international standards and treaties to which Burma is a signatory.

We have voiced our concerns over this proposed legislation to members of the Burmese government and to Burmese parliamentarians. Most recently, Minister of State at the Home Office, my right hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone), raised the issue when she met Deputy Foreign Minister Thant Kyaw during her visit to Burma in January. The UK also endorsed a statement issued by EU Heads of Mission in Rangoon in January reiterating those concerns and calling on the Burmese government and parliament to ensure that all new legislation is fully compliant with Burma’s international human rights obligations. We will continue to raise this issue in our dealings with the Burmese authorities, both in public and in private.

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