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Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 5435, tabled on 2 July 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what recent discussions has he had with the Burmese government on (a) the Rohingya community in Rakhine state and (b) democracy and human rights in that country.

Answered on

8 July 2015

We have consistently raised our concern at the situation of the Rohingya community in all recent Ministerial contacts with the Burmese government. Most recently, I called the Burmese Ambassador in to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 18 May to express our concern at the migrant crisis in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, and press Burma to take urgent steps to deal with the humanitarian implications of the crisis, as well as the underlying causes in Rakhine. It is vital that Burma addresses the longer-term issues which lie at the root of the problem - namely the desperate conditions in which Rohingya communities are living in Rakhine State.

We recognise the significant steps towards democratic reform that the government of Burma has taken over the past two years. At the same time, we are clear that much more needs to be done, and that progress in some areas of human rights has declined. The November parliamentary elections will be a critically important test of the government’s commitment to see the reforms through to their conclusion. It is vital for Burma’s future development that these are inclusive and credible. The Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron) made this point to President Thein Sein at the Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Brisbane in November.