Following news in the last week that violence has once more broken out in Rakhine State in Burma, Shadow Minister for International Development Rushanara Ali MP said “Just last week violence broke out again in Rakhine State in Burma following weeks of violence in June that saw at least 100,000 people displaced. Unlike last time however, the Burmese Government has asked for help and the British Government must step up to answer that need.
“Starting in just two towns, it has already spread across the state. Reports are that at least 76 people have already been killed and a further 28,000 displaced – and yet again many of them are Rohingyas. Both sides are blaming each other for the violence and while it is unclear how the violence started, what is clear is that people are suffering and the international community must step up to provide the support needed.”
On Saturday, Human Rights Watch released shocking satellite imagery that showed that over 800 homes and other property had been burnt to the ground in the largely Rohingya area of just one town. The UN has also recently voiced concerns that the ongoing ethnic violence in Rakhine and other parts of Burma such as Kachin State are putting the longer term process of progress and reform at risk.
Rushanara also said: “The events this weekend have reinforced the urgent need to work towards a long term solution to this conflict which must include an impartial inquiry into the events that sparked the recent violence. Any such resolution will also need to look at eliminating some of the underlying causes such as the 1982 Citizenship Law which renders many people in Burma, including the Rohingya, non-citizens and virtually stateless.”
Rushanara Ali also asked the Foreign and Commonwealth Secretary a question in the House of Commons. A full transcript of the debate is available here http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm120712/text/120712w0004