Burma and the UK Government

Questions asked by Baroness Goudie at the House of Lords on 5th of April 2011 To ask Her Majesty's Government what meetings United Kingdom government officials have had with representatives of the Rohingya ethnic minority in Burma.[HL8101]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government are deeply concerned about the situation facing the Rohingya people. Foreign and Commonwealth officials in London often meet with the Burmese Rohingya Organisation and the Arakan Rohingya National Organisation-most recently on 10 March 2011. Our embassy in Rangoon meets on a regular basis with a wide range of ethnic groups. The Government remain committed to advocating fundamental freedoms and greater respect for human rights for all ethnic groups in Burma including the Rohingya.

Asked by Baroness Goudie

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the United Nations Department of Political Affairs to ensure that United Nations envoys to Burma meet and consult with ethnic Rohingya representatives.[HL8102]

Lord Howell of Guildford: The UK Mission to the United Nations (UN) in New York most recently raised Burma with the UN Department of Political Affairs on 7 March 2011. The UK regularly speaks with the UN about the importance of national reconciliation across all ethnic groups in Burma and the need to address human rights abuses. The UN special rapporteur on human rights in Burma travelled to Rakhine state, where many Rohingya live, in February 2010. He has subsequently made specific references to the human right abuses the Rohingya have suffered in his three human rights reports. The UN special envoy to Burma met with several ethnic political parties, including the Rakhine political party in November 2010, and has discussed wider ethnic issues with our officials in New York. The Government are deeply concerned over the treatment of the Rohingya and other ethnic groups in Burma and continue to raise their situation in the UN and with international partners.

Asked by Baroness Goudie

To ask Her Majesty's Government how many times in 2009 and 2010 the Burmese ambassador to the United Kingdom has met with officials and Ministers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to discuss human rights.[HL8104]

Lord Howell of Guildford: Our officials and Ministers regularly meet the Burmese ambassador at Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) London Committee meetings. According to our records, the Burmese ambassador or the charges d'affaires attended seven ASEAN London Committee meetings between March 2009 and February 2011. During these meetings, the Government raised concerns over a number of

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human rights issues: the detention of political prisoners, the suppression of the democratic and ethnic-based opposition and the lack of fundamental freedoms. The Government continue to make these points directly to the Burmese ambassador, with officials in Burma and with other ASEAN member states who have influence with the Burmese regime.

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