Burma: International Assistance

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 19th September 2017.

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Photo of Julie Cooper Julie Cooper Shadow Minister (Health) (Community Health)

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department has taken to prepare for a potential humanitarian intervention and assistance mission in Myanmar.

Photo of Mark Field Mark Field Minister of State

The Foreign Secretary most recently spoke with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on 17 September. He once again raised our concerns about the continuing violence, the need for any allegations of human rights abuses to be investigated and for humanitarian access to be granted to affected communities. Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, made a statement at the 36th session of the Human Rights Council on 11 September which made clear that the UK strongly condemned all violence in Rakhine State and called on all parties to de-escalate tensions and address the humanitarian crisis. Pursuant to the strategy setout in my response to the Urgent Question on 5 September we have also called for a further meeting at the UN Security Council on 13 September which will discuss how humanitarian access can be improved on the ground in Rakhine State.

The UK has long been one of the biggest contributors of humanitarian aid for the displaced population in Rakhine State. We have provided over £30 million in humanitarian assistance since 2012, including food and sanitation for over 126,000 people. In the current context, access to the worst affected populations is seriously constrained. We are working at the highest levels with the government, other donors and the UN to improve access and ensure that aid reaches those that need it most. The UK has also committed £10.9 million to meet the needs of displaced Rohingya and the host communities who support them in Bangladesh. Of this, £5m has already been released to provide critical life-saving assistance – such as food, shelter, water and sanitation to those who are fleeing the violence.

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