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Burma: Human Rights

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL1248, tabled on 5 September 2017

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the government of Burma to engage with existing United Nations Human Rights Council mechanisms and address reports of severe human rights violations in Rakhine State.

Answered on

21 September 2017

We remain concerned that human rights violations by the Burmese security forces following the violence in Rakhine State in October 2016 have not been fully investigated or addressed. That is why the UK co-sponsored a resolution at the Human Rights Council in March which set up a Fact Finding Mission to look into the human rights situation in Burma. We have urged the Government of Burma to cooperate fully with the Mission and its mandate and to enable the Mission to visit Burma.

Ministers have raised this issue with the Burmese authorities and our broader concerns about the recent outbreak in violence in Rakhine State. The Foreign Secretary has spoken on several occasions with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and has raised our concerns. Our ambassador in Rangoon has also raised our concerns with the Burmese authorities.

We support the Rakhine Advisory Commission, led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, and welcome its report published on 24 August. Amongst its recommendations, the Commission noted that the Government of Burma must take full responsibility for all residents in Rakhine State and ensure access to services and humanitarian aid. We assess that the Commission's recommendations provide the most realistic solution to address the longstanding and underlying issues in Rakhine. The UK stands ready to support Burma to implement the Commission's report. The UK has raised Burma twice at the UN Security Council since the outbreak of the current violence, and secured the Council's first press statement on Burma in eight years. The UK also raised its deep concern about reports of human rights violations at the 36th session of the UN Human Rights Council.