Rohingya crisis

26th March 2018

Anne Main chaired a meeting of the APPG on Bangladesh and Burma with Minister of State in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Mark Field last week.

The Minister came to address the group after continued pressure and lobbying from the group for even more to be done by the UK government for the Rohingya refugees.

‘I am grateful that the Minister answered our calls and came to address the group. I have no doubt about his passion and desire to improve this awful situation. We must not let this dreadful humanitarian tragedy slip from the news’, said Mrs Main.

The St Albans MP visited the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh in September 2017 and has worked tirelessly since returning to improve the situation for the refugees. Anne has pressed the UK government to provide even further humanitarian and diplomatic assistance.

The Minister made a short speech and took questions from some of the many MP’s and Peers that attended the session. Mr Field accepted the ‘extremely complex nature’ of this situation and assured attendees that the government is doing everything it can to find a diplomatic resolution for the Rohingya. He also spoke of the government’s willingness to consider providing even further funds for humanitarian aid and spoke of the possibility of a UN Security Council resolution being brought by the UK to hold the Burmese military to account.

Anne asked the Minister for assurances that ‘the Rohingya are given a voice [during] the repatriation process’ and pressed the need for even more ‘global and EU support to put pressure on the Myanmar government as we can’t do it all ourselves.’

The Minister responded by saying he agreed that we ‘need to represent the best interests of the Rohingya’ and that ‘further dialogue will help with that’. He also reiterated Mrs Main’s point that the UK government continues to call on other nations and partners to maintain the pressure on the Burmese government and to step up their financial support for humanitarian aid in the region.

Mrs Main said after the meeting, ‘I was pleased with the Minister’s frank responses, I can tell he cares deeply about this issue and he wants the best for the refugees. The fact we are the largest individual bilateral donor to the crisis speaks volumes. We must also look to make sure the staggering estimate of $1 billion in humanitarian aid needed for the camps next year goes to the right places, and not into the hands of people looking to exploit the Rohingya.

‘I hope the government continue to lead on this and we see further international support for the Rohingya, especially with monsoon season on the way.’

APPG on Bangladesh and Burma meeting with Minister Mark Field MP

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