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Burma: Rohingya

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN 14857, tabled on 4 November 2015

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, if he will support the establishment of a full, international, independent investigation by the UN into claims of genocide against the Rohingya in Burma.

Answered on

12 November 2015

The UK deplores the treatment of the Rohingya community in Rakhine State, who are subject to persecution and denied the most basic rights. We welcome the work of the highly effective UN Special Rapporteur on Burma, who has shone a spotlight on violations against the Rohingya in Rakhine. She has not characterised the treatment of the Rohingya as genocide, and neither did the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide in his 4 November statement on Burma’s elections. However, any judgement on whether genocide has occurred is a matter for international judicial decision, rather than for governments or non-judicial bodies. A UN investigation would require high level international support for which, we assess, there is little prospect of agreement at this stage. Our approach is to seek an end to all violations, irrespective of whether or not they fit the definition of specific international crimes. I and other British Government Ministers take every appropriate opportunity, both publicly and in private, to press the Burmese authorities to take urgent steps to address the situation of the Rohingya. I did this with senior Burmese Ministers during my visit to Burma in July, when I travelled to Rakhine State for the second time. Most recently, I raised the issue with the Burmese Foreign Minister, Wunna Maung Lwin, in September in New York. After the 8 November elections, the UK will continue our efforts to address the serious ongoing human rights violations against the Rohingya in Rakhine State.