Anne meets Foreign Secretary

21st January 2019

Last week, Anne Main MP met with the foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt to discuss the recent general election in Bangladesh and the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis. Mrs Main outlined her concerns about the legitimacy of the election result after wide-spread reporting of electoral fraud and brutality in the country.

“I wanted to meet with Jeremy Hunt as this is a very worrying time in Bangladesh and it is vital the UK government are working hard to help ensure things do not get worse”, said Mrs Main after her meeting. “You cannot have a free and democratic country, which is what I hope for Bangladesh, if there are endless dubious elections with reports from all over the world saying the result was illegitimate.”

During the meeting, Anne spoke with the foreign secretary about what more the UK government can do to ensure we help to encourage free elections in the country with full transparency. Mrs Main also spoke about the use of UK aid in the country to promote democracy and questioned how well this was being spent in light of the result.

The St Albans MP also used the opportunity to express her worries about the ongoing Rohingya refugee crisis, which has seen almost a million Rohingya Muslims flee from Myanmar into Bangladesh. The crisis has been described as a genocide according to UN investigators.

“I know the foreign secretary has taken this issue extremely seriously and the government are doing everything possible to help those refugees in the camps but we must keep the pressure up.  With everything else that is going on around the world and here in the UK, we mustn’t forget a million people are living in cramped and squalid conditions after fleeing some of the most heinous crimes ever committed”, Anne said.

“There are still some very real problems facing the people in those camps. Bhashan Char Island is still being considered as a place to rehome the Rohingya which, to my mind, is totally unacceptable. Bangladesh and Burma appear to be pressing ahead with premature plans to repatriate some Rohingya back to Myanmar without any proper investigation, guarantees or justice.”

The foreign secretary discussed the UK’s approach to the crisis and expressed his continued desire to bring justice to the perpetrators of this crisis through the UN.

Looking ahead, Anne said, “I hope the Foreign Office continues to give a great deal of focus and attention on the issues facing Bangladesh. We all hope for a brighter and more prosperous future for the people there and I hope the UK will continue to play its part in making that a reality.”

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Bangladesh APPG Report

Download the report by the Bangladesh All Party Parliamentary Group: ‘After Rana Plaza’: A report into the readymade garment industry in Bangladesh.

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