Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 23rd June 2015.

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Photo of Imran Hussain Imran Hussain Labour, Bradford East

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps the Government is taking to encourage Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia to (a) protect the human rights of Rohingyan refugees and (b) provide those refugees with asylum.

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

In response to the humanitarian crisis at sea in South East Asia, I instructed our network of Embassies and High Commissions to lobby regional governments, including Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, urging them to uphold the international obligation of rescue at sea. We also tasked them to work together to tackle the smuggling and trafficking rings and address the underlying causes of irregular migration of people by sea, specifically raising the plight of the Rohingya. We welcomed the 20 May decision of the governments of Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to provide humanitarian aid to those at sea, and the decision by Thailand to hold a regional coordination meeting on 28 May, which we attended as an observer. We also welcome the decision by the Association of South East Asian Nations to look into this issue further.

It is not for the UK to determine the asylum policy of other countries, but we encourage all States that have not done so to sign and ratify the 1951 Refugee Convention, and to adhere to its obligations.

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