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Burma: Ethnic Groups

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 206, tabled on 27 May 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions he has had on the situation of ethnic minorities in Burma.

Answered on

4 June 2015

Our Officials regularly discuss a wide range of human rights issues with the Burmese government, including the treatment of ethnic minorities in Burma.

We are particularly concerned by continued intercommunal tensions in Rakhine State, the plight of the Rohingya, and an increase in anti-muslim hate-speech and intolerance. We have raised our concern at the situation of the Rohingya community in all of our recent Ministerial contacts with the Burmese government. Most recently, I called the Burmese Ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to discuss this issue on 18 May, and urged Burma to take swift action to address the persecution and dire situation of the Rohingya in Rakhine. This should include an end to restrictions on freedom of movement; humanitarian access; and a path to citizenship for eligible Rohingya residents of Rakhine State.

We also share the view of UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Burma, Yanghee Lee, in her report of March 2015, that the government of Burma must “address hate speech and incitement to violence as part of its obligation to ensure a safe and secure environment for all persons, including ethnic minorities, religious minorities and women”.