I am deeply concerned by the situation faced by the Rohingya population and the widespread violations of human rights that have occurred in Burma. More than 680,000 people have fled from Burma to Bangladesh since August 2017 and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights described the situation in Rakhine State as an example of “ethnic cleansing”.
At least 370,000 of those who have fled to Bangladesh are children. As organisations such as Save the Children have highlighted, the impact on children of the violence in Rakhine State and the resulting humanitarian crisis is severe.
The UN has verified reports of horrific violence against children in Rakhine State. Research by Save the Children has also found that half of those Rohingya children who fled to Bangladesh without their parents were orphaned by the violence. Indeed, some 6,000 unaccompanied and separated Rohingya children are currently living in Cox’s Bazar in Bangladesh, facing food shortages and at increased risk of exploitation and abuse.
I know that Save the Children is calling for Burma to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) so that those responsible for breaches of international law and crimes against humanity can be brought to account. I support such a move and believe it is the UK’s responsibility to do so. The Government should therefore continue to engage with other members of the UN Security Council on this issue, particularly China, so that a resolution can be brought forward referring the situation in Rakhine State to the ICC.
The terrible situation faced by the Rohingya people – both the current humanitarian crisis and underlying political issues – must be tackled with urgency. I believe implementing the recommendations outlined in the 2017 report by the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State would be the most effective way of bringing lasting peace, justice and prosperity to the Rohingya.
I can assure you that I will continue to follow this important issue closely.