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MPs Urge Ban Ki-Moon to Negotiate Humanitarian Access to Rakhine State, Burma

By Burma Campaign UK  •  July 7, 2015

Over 50 MPs in the British Parliament have signed an Early Day Motion (EDM) (a kind of Parliamentary petition) calling on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to personally lead negotiations for humanitarian access to Rakhine State, Burma. The MPs also call on the British Government to put pressure on the Burmese government to address the root causes of why the Rohingya are fleeing the country.

The call comes in the wake of a refugee crisis with thousands of Rohingya being stuck at sea after fleeing Burma. Some estimates suggest that as many as a fifth of the Rohingya population has fled Burma since Thein Sein became President in 2011.

Valerie Vaz, MP for Walsall South and the primary sponsor of the EDM, said: “The situation for the Rohingya refugees is appalling, and the root cause of the problem is how they are being treated in Burma. The British Government needs to ask Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to take a personal lead in negotiating humanitarian access to Rakhine State, to address the most acute human suffering that is taking place.”

The EDM has gathered a wide range of cross-party support with signatures from the Conservatives, Labour, Scottish National Party, Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, Democratic Unionist Party, Social Democratic and Labour Party and Independent.

The EDM echoes a call by 37 human rights and humanitarian organisations, including Burma Campaign UK, who in a letter to Ban Ki-moon in May wrote:

“Mr Secretary-General, in 2008 following the appalling humanitarian crisis after Cyclone Nargis, the regime in Myanmar initially refused access to international aid organisations. You personally took charge of the effort by the international community to negotiate access, and you succeeded. As a result, hundreds of thousands of lives were saved. We believe the crisis in Rakhine State demands a similar response, and we therefore urge you to take a personal lead in negotiating with the Government of Myanmar for humanitarian access to all areas of Rakhine State, for humanitarian aid to be provided to all in need, regardless of race or religion.” (http://burmacampaign.org.uk/international-ngos-urge-ban-ki-moon-to-negotiate-aid-access-to-rakhine-state-myanmar-burma/)

Karin Valtersson, Campaigns Officer at Burma Campaign UK, said: “It is clear that the Burmese Government is ignoring the plight of the Rohingya and that they are happy that they are leaving. Only a high-level diplomatic effort such as Ban Ki-moon taking a personal lead could break the deadlock. It is very welcome to see the support in the British Parliament for this, and equally disappointing to see the inaction of the British Government to date.”

The full text of the EDM and its signatures can be found here: http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2015-16/58

The letter of the 37 organisations to Ban Ki-moon can be found here: http://burmacampaign.org.uk/international-ngos-urge-ban-ki-moon-to-negotiate-aid-access-to-rakhine-state-myanmar-burma/


For more information contact: Valerie Vaz MP on 020 7219  7176
Karin Valtersson on 07757 814523

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This post is in: Press Release

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