Rushanara Ali MP presses Aung San Suu Kyi to take urgent action to protect Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State

For Immediate Release

On Tuesday 14th February, the Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow and Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Burma, Rushanara Ali met with Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyidaw, Burma.

During her second visit to the country in four years, Rushanara congratulated Aung San Suu Kyi on her party’s victory in 2015’s landmark democratic elections, discussed the strong ties between the United Kingdom and Burma and the need to strengthen parliamentary democracy in Burma.

Rushanara also raised serious concerns about the treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State at the hands of the military, which has cost thousands of lives. After co-ordinating a letter signed by 70 Parliamentarians to the Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson MP in December last year, Rushanara communicated her concerns about the treatment of Rohingya Muslims directly to the State Counsellor.

Following the meeting Rushanara Ali said:

“It was a great honour to be received by Aung San Suu Kyi on my recent visit to Burma. The sacrifices she made throughout her life remains an inspiration to all those committed to democracy and freedom around the world. However the attacks in October 2016, directed by the military following the killing of nine border officers, led to the displacement of 69,000 people to Bangladesh and displaced thousands more in Rakhine State. This is on top of the existing 100,000 confined to Internally Displaced Person’s Camps since the previous outbreak of violence in 2012.”

“Within Rakhine State – and indeed across many other areas of the country – there continues to be a massive humanitarian challenge as access to food, healthcare and shelter remains poor or negligible, especially in Northern Rakhine and conditions have not improved since my last visit in 2013.”

“After five decades of military rule, Burma faces a long list of serious challenges: ethnic conflicts, extreme poverty, continued human rights abuses by the military and under-development, to name just a few.”

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ENDS
Notes to Editors:

1) For further information or comment please contact Rushanara Ali MP’s Office on 020 7219 7200 or email rushanara.ali.mp@parliament.uk

2) You can find more information on Rushanara’s work in Parliament here. Rushanara has previously written about the Rohingya for the Guardian. Her articles can be read here and here.

3) On December 7th 2016, 70 Parliamentarians signed a letter addressed to the UK Foreign Secretary urging him to intensify the Government’s pressure on the Myanmar Government following the recent escalation of violence in Rakhine. The letter can be read here. Please find the reply in the link at the bottom of the page.

4) Recent actions by the military referred to above ‘may amount to crimes against humanity’, according to the UN Human Rights Office.

5) Despite the recent historic elections in Myanmar and the subsequent transition to democracy, power of key government departments – border affairs, home affairs and defense – remain in the hands of the military, and many positions in other ministries are held by military generals.

Rushanara Ali MP calls on Government to protect the Queen and rescind State Visit invitation to Donald Trump

For Immediate Release

The Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green and Bow, Rushanara Ali, yesterday called on the Government to rescind the offer of a State Visit to American President Donald Trump. Following the President’s Executive Order for a travel ban from seven-majority Muslim countries and a litany of misogynistic and racist comments, Rushanara called on the Prime Minster to protect the reputation of the Queen and offer the President a government-to-government visit rather than a State Visit.

Yesterday Members of Parliament had the opportunity to speak in a Westminster Hall debate regarding a Petition signed by nearly two million people that demanded that the offer of a State Visit be withdrawn due to the embarrassment it would cause to the Queen. With 11,476 residents from Bethnal Green and Bow signing the petition, Rushanara who attended the debate said:

“Given President Trump’s remarks on torture, his misogynistic stance against women, as well those against Muslims, associating with him in the form of a State Visit will do a huge amount of damage to our Queen. The monarchy is respected around the world and the government should have a government-to-government visit with Donald Trump and leave Her Majesty out of this.”

After the debate, Rushanara addressed a large demonstration against the State visit gathered in Parliament Square.

She said:  

“Donald Trump’s rhetoric and policies are deeply, deeply worrying for not only our country, but also for all those who care about the rights of minorities, rights of women and all those threatened by his values. That’s why we will continue to fight against this State Visit.”

Following the demonstrations Rushanara said:

“Rescinding the offer of a State Visit is not an attempt to boycott President Trump’s visit. It is always better to have dialogue between countries, but given President Trump’s comments, a government-to-government visit would be much more appropriate for this American President’s trip to the United Kingdom.”

Rushanara Ali MP marks International Mother Language Day

For Immediate Release

On 21st February, the world celebrates International Mother Language Day. Established by UNESCO in 1999 as a day to promote linguistic and cultural diversity, it is needed more than ever. With 7,097 known living languages, according to UNESCO, there are 2.3 billion people who lack access to education in their own languages.

Marking International Mother Language Day, Rushanara Ali said:

“It is with great pride that I mark Bengali Language Day. After so many students and activists gave their lives in the mass protests on 21 February 1952 in Dhaka, it is with a sense of great honour and respect that Bangladeshis around the world pay tribute to their sacrifice for an independent Bangladesh.”

“We commemorate this sacrifice by celebrating Bangladesh’s richly diverse culture and heritage. Throughout history, people have given their lives to defend linguistic and culture diversity and International Mother Language Day focuses the world’s attention on the importance of protecting marginalized languages.  Thanks to the efforts of those who have sacrificed so much in the past, our communities are given the chance to flourish by being able to freely express themselves in their mother-tongue.”

“With these messages of equality, freedom and tolerance in mind, I wish you all a wonderful Ekushe February.” 

Rushanara Ali MP votes against triggering Article 50 after Government refuses to give Parliament power to protect jobs, environment and workers and women’s rights

Rushanara Ali MP has voted against triggering of Article 50 after more than 40 amendments to the Brexit Bill were defeated by the Government. After three days of debate in the House of Commons, where MPs had the opportunity to support a range of amendments that protected jobs in the financial services sector, the environment and worker’s and women’s rights, MPs decided to approve the Government’s bill unamended, beginning the process of leaving the European Union.

In total, the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow supported 30 New Clauses and 10 Amendments to the 2 clause bill. These included a written assurance that the Prime Minister seeks the approval of Parliament prior to offering a deal to the European Union and that Theresa May seeks further time to continue negotiations if any deal is not reached.

These would have ensured that economic assessments are made on the impact of leaving the Single Market and Customs Union. With thousands of jobs dependent on the financial services in Bethnal Green and Bow, Rushanara has supported specific changes to the bill that would preserve the existing trading rights for UK-based financial service companies.

Rushanara has also supported changes to the bill to ensure worker’s rights, women’s rights and environmental legislation are protected upon exiting the European Union.

Rushanara said:

“I want to ensure we get a good deal for Britain when we leave the European Union that means a deal that protects our jobs, our economy and safeguards our rights and Britain’s strong influence in Europe. Leaving the single market and customs union will be devastating for many of our businesses and their employees. That is why I couldn’t support this Conservative Government’s hard Brexit.”

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ENDS
Notes to Editors:
1) For further information or comment please contact Rushanara Ali MP’s Office on 020 7219 7200 or email rushanara.ali.mp@parliament.uk
2) You can find more information on Rushanara’s work in Parliament here:

Rushanara Ali MP votes against triggering Article 50 to protect jobs

For Immediate Release

Rushanara Ali MP this evening voted against triggering Article 50 and beginning the process of leaving the European Union due to the risk it poses to jobs in Bethnal Green and Bow and across the country.

Price Water House Coopers suggests that if the UK leaves the Single Market between 70,000 and 100,000 jobs in the financial sector could be lost. Following the Prime Minster’s speech at Lancaster House two weeks ago where she laid out her negotiating strategy, HSBC confirmed that they will move 1,000 jobs out of London, as did UBS.

Speaking in the historic debate on the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill Rushanara said:

“As a passionate European, a proud Londoner and someone who comes from a background in which Britain was a welcoming home to me and my family, and a constituency where almost 70% of the electorate voted to remain, it goes without saying that this is a bill that I wish I didn’t have to vote on.”

“I don’t agree with the Prime Minster’s plan to take us out of the Single Market and Custom’s Union because the effects will be dangerous and damaging to our economy and that is well documented when it comes to the city of London and Canary Wharf. My constituency boarders on these two financial sectors where some 70,000 – 100,000 jobs are at risk. And it’s not just the jobs of financiers at the top end of those institutions that are at risk – it’s the receptions, it’s the caters, it’s all the people who serve the city and Canary Wharf.

“It’s because of the damage that the move away from the Single Market will do to my constituents and also up and down the country to our economy but also to our rights that I can’t support triggering Article 50.”

“I do not believe it’s in our national interest, as a country that is supposed to be outwards looking and internationalist and I do not believe it is in the interest of the next generation.”