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Burma fails to provide visas for Committee

27 February 2018

Today, the Burmese Embassy has failed to provide visas for the International Development Committee to travel to Burma.

The visit was planned as part of the Committee's inquiry into the Department for International Development's work in Bangladesh and Burma.

The Committee's first Report in this inquiry, on the Rohingya Crisis (published January 2018), expressed the Committee's grave concerns over Burma's treatment of the Rohingya, their mass displacement and plans to repatriate 100s of thousands of Rohingya back to Burma without safeguards. The MPs also highlighted evidence that sexual violence, including rape, remained a weapon of war used by the Burmese military.

Chair's comments

Stephen Twigg MP, Chair of the Committee, said:

“We are extremely disappointed. It is hard to escape the conclusion that this is a direct consequence of our Report on the Rohingya.

The result is that planned meetings with Government ministers and military personnel in the capital, Nay Pyi Taw, including with State Counsellor, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, have had to be cancelled.

I will be seeking to raise this on the floor of the House tomorrow.”

DFID has a substantial aid programme in Burma, allocating £100 million for 2018/19 primarily for health and education programmes delivered directly to some of the poorest people in the region. As part of the Committee's remit to scrutinise DFID spending, the planned visits to Sittwe in Rakhine Province and Pakokku in the Magway Region would have allowed the Committee first hand access to DFID projects. This is an essential element of the Committee's work.

The Committee's Report was clear that the required conditions for the safe return of the Rohingya to Burma must include their safety, security, and access to fundamental human rights. Previous episodes of displacement and return of the Rohingya, and other ethnic minorities, in Burma over the last 20 years ‘do not inspire confidence', said the Report.

Further information

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