Burma: Religious Freedom

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 23rd October 2017.

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Photo of Baroness Cox Baroness Cox Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the pressure placed on children to convert to Buddhism in the military run NaTaLa schools in Myanmar.

Photo of Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon Minister of State

We are aware of the Burmese Government’s efforts to construct new living spaces for communities in conflict affected areas, known as Na Ta La, which roughly translates to “Border Areas National Races Youth Development Training Schools” and of some reports that these are being used to pressure children to convert to Buddhism. These reports are deeply concerning. The UK Government is clear that the persecution of individuals of any faith remains of profound concern. The freedom to practise, change or share faith or belief without discrimination or violent opposition is a fundamental human right. Societies that aim to protect and promote freedom of religion or belief are more stable, prosperous and more resilient against violent extremism.

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