Burma: Rohingya

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 29th March 2017.

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Photo of Tom Brake Tom Brake Liberal Democrat Spokesperson (Foreign Affairs), Liberal Democrat Chief Whip, Liberal Democrat Shadow Leader of the House of Commons

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will make an assessment of whether the Burmese Government's domestic process for investigating claims of sexual violence by Burmese security forces against Rohingya Muslim women is consistent with the standards set out in the International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict.

Photo of Alok Sharma Alok Sharma The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs

The Government of Burma is conducting a national investigation into reports of human rights abuses, including reports of sexual violence, perpetrated by the Burmese security forces in Rakhine State since October 2016. The Rakhine Investigation Commission's interim report of 3 January concluded that there was insufficient evidence to take legal action. We have made clear that we do not find the Rakhine Investigation's interim findings credible.

We are aware of reports which suggest weaknesses in the Commission's composition and approach. The International Protocol on the Documentation and Investigation of Sexual Violence in Conflict sets out minimum basic principles and international best practice for such investigations, and we encourage its use. However, it is not intended to insist on a universal legal or professional standard.

The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my noble Friend, the Rt Hon. Baroness Anelay of St Johns visited Burma in November, and pressed the Minister of Defence on the importance of transparency and accountability in their field.

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