Burma: War Crimes

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 2nd December 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 reports from the Shan Human Rights Foundation that between 9 and 12 November the Burmese Army carried out shelling and aerial bombing of Mong Nawng and that those attacks constitute war crimes.

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

We are concerned by reports of continued fighting in Shan State, including around Mong Nawng and Wanhai, which the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs estimates has displaced approximately 6,000 people since 6 October. Our Ambassador in Rangoon raised our concerns about the conflict in Shan with the Burmese military on 20 November. The UK has played a leading role in supporting efforts to broker ceasefire agreements, funding expert advice to both sides in support of dialogue and peacemaking.

We welcomed the signing of a ceasefire agreement on 15 October and we continue to urge armed groups who did not sign the ceasefire and the Burmese government to engage in ceasefire talks to bring the conflict to an end.

The UK has made no assessment of whether these allegations amount to war crimes. Any determination as to whether specific international crimes have occurred is a matter for an international judicial decision rather than for governments or non-judicial bodies. Our approach is to seek an end to all violations and to prevent their further escalation, irrespective of whether these violations fit the definition of specific international crimes.

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