Myanmar: Rohingya

Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office written question – answered on 16th September 2020.

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Photo of Claire Hanna Claire Hanna Social Democratic and Labour Party, Belfast South

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, what progress his Department has made in (a) advocating Myanmar accountability for crimes committed against the Rohingya population and (b) making representations on the Rohingya people’s safe, voluntary and dignified return home.

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)

The UK has been clear that those responsible for serious human rights violations should be held to account. We have used our role on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to increase international attention on the Rohingya crisis and we continue to lead calls for accountability. The UK has worked with partners to try and implement the Fact Finding Mission recommendations, including establishing the UN Independent Investigative Mechanism on Myanmar to collect and preserve evidence of atrocities. When I spoke to the Myanmar Minister for International Cooperation on 23 June, I encouraged Myanmar to continue to engage with the International Court of Justice process in a transparent way. On 6 July, the UK's Global Human Rights sanction regime (GHR) listed the Myanmar military's Commander-in-Chief and Deputy Commander-in-Chief, for overseeing the systematic and brutal violence against the Rohingya and other minorities, as set out in the Independent Fact Finding Mission Report. This is in addition to the sanctions which the UK secured through the EU, against 14 members of the Myanmar military responsible for serious human rights violations.

The UK has been clear that Rohingya returns must be voluntary, safe and dignified, in line with the principles of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). We agree with the UNHCR's assessment that conditions are not yet in place to enable this. Since early 2019 there have been serious clashes in Rakhine State between the Arakan Army, an Ethnic Armed Organisation, and the Myanmar military. We have called at the UNSC for an immediate cessation of hostilities. We continue to press the Government of Myanmar for full implementation of the Kofi Annan Rakhine Advisory Commission (RAC) recommendations, including granting citizenship, freedom of movement and permitting immediate and effective access for agencies. The UK is clear that the RAC recommendations remain the best and only internationally and domestically agreed template for tackling the problems in Rakhine State.

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