LIKE ME YOU will have been troubled and angered by the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar and the plight of the Rohingya Muslims.
The response from the Oldham community has been to come together to raise funds to support those fleeing into Bangladesh, and I pay tribute to those efforts.
On 6th September, together with 157 MP’s, I signed an open letter to the Foreign Secretary calling for pressure to be applied to the commander in chief of the military in Myanmar for the attacks to be halted.
Furthermore we called for the support provided by the UK government to the Burmese military to be urgently reviewed on the grounds that serious human rights violations have been committed by specific regiments of the army.
We also called for the government to support a resolution at the Human Rights Council and the United Nations.
Emily Thornberry MP, Shadow Foreign Secretary, responding to the worsening humanitarian crisis in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, said:
“In the last month, tens of thousands of men, women and children have been displaced from their homes as a result of the violence in Rakhine State, and thousands more are joining them with every passing day, all desperately in need of shelter, medical help, food and clean water.
“As well as a complete end to all further violence and burning of villages, we need to ensure that the thousands of people who have already lost their homes urgently receive the food, water and medicine they need to survive. If the authorities on the ground in Myanmar are deliberately preventing UN bodies and international aid agencies from reaching those displaced families, that decision must be immediately reversed.
“And once the cessation of violence and humanitarian access has been achieved, the work of building a lasting peace must begin, building on the recommendations of Kofi Annan’s Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, including a recognition of the rights and freedoms of the Rohingya people, and an end to restrictions on their movement.
“Britain and the rest of the world community must stand ready to support that process, but it will firstly rely on the civilian and military authorities in Myanmar living up to their responsibilities within a modern democratic government. As a long-standing, critical friend, we should expect and demand nothing less.”
It is a position I support wholeheartedly and you and concerned constituents can be assured that the Labour Party will continue to raise this issue in parliament until we see a fundamental change in the UK’s approach to this atrocity.