Rohingya Crisis

27th November 2018

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

Following lobbying by Mrs Main, as co-chair of the APPG on the Rights of the Rohingya, the Minister agreed to speak with the group about the latest issues facing the Rohingya and the UK government’s response to the crisis.

‘This crisis needs our urgent attention like never before’ said Mrs Main before the meeting. ‘The reports of involuntary repatriation combined with the upcoming elections in Bangladesh mean this is a really important time for the Rohingya people and we need to keep the pressure up on our government to ensure we are doing everything possible to help.’

The Minister gave a short speech then took questions from parliamentarians present. The Minister reiterated the UK’s position that any repatriations must be safe, voluntary and dignified. The FCO have expressed concerns to their counterparts in Burma and Bangladesh that this criteria must be met before any returns occur. So far, the UK government do not believe they have.

The Minister also confirmed that the government are working hard behind the scenes with international partners to bring justice and accountability for the crimes committed during the Rohingya crisis. This comes after UN special investigators concluded that offences committed during this process ‘amounted to genocide’.

Mrs Main said after the meeting: ‘I am extremely grateful to the Minister for attending and discussing these issues frankly with the group. The Minister was in no doubt about the strength of feeling amongst MPs and Peers about this crisis.

‘The government must continue to work hard in the interests of the Rohingya people and do everything we possibly can to ensure safety for the Rohingya, voluntary and dignified returns and justice for the crimes committed.

‘We will be following events in the camps over the coming weeks and months closely and I hope we will see an end to premature returns that are clearly against the will and best interests of the refugees in these camps.’ 

Photo: Anne Main with Mark Field during APPG meeting 26 November 2018.

Anne Main pictured with Mark Field during APPG meeting 26 November 2018.

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