Thursday, November 30, 2017 10:03:06 PM
The UK parliament has had a lengthy discussion on the Rohingya crisis which Minister for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field calls a 'global humanitarian catastrophe' and not just a Muslim issue.
British shadow Minister for International Development Roberta Blackman-Woods, who recently visited Bangladesh and Rohingya camps, moved the motion with Ian Paisley in the chair.
Over 20 MPs took part in the discussion at the House of Commons on Tuesday, according to Hansard Online, which says it puts in a substantially verbatim report of what is said in parliament.
Roberta attended the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association conference in Dhaka as a member of the British delegation. In her opening remarks, Roberta said, "Although stories about the crisis are similar, my visit brought home the vastness of the camps."
"The UNHCR's head of emergency planning told our group of parliamentarians that the camps needed to house the new refugees are the equivalent of a city larger than Manchester and these are being established almost overnight," she told the MPs.
"And it was built with no infrastructure, housing, water, sanitation or any of the tools needed for self-subsistence," she quoted the UNHCR emergency chief.
The International Rescue Committee estimates that nearly 300,000 people need food security assistance and more than 400,000 people need healthcare, Roberta said.
Only a fraction of the 453,000 Rohingya children at camps receives education. The young people they met were desperate for education-particularly higher education, the shadow minister continued.
Another MP, Philip Hollobone, said, "It is ethnic cleansing, pure and simple, and must be 100% condemned through all diplomatic channels available to us."
"I appreciate the sensitivities of the nascent democracy in Burma, but we must make it clear that the generals are responsible for this ethnic cleansing and that the international community will not put up with it."
"When it comes to the potential return of Rohingya refugees, returning stateless people to remain stateless in their country of origin is not good enough. These people require their nationhood to be given to them."
He also said Britain must stimulate further contributions from other countries, particularly Muslim countries, because 'we are dealing with a Muslim population', and "there are lots of rich Muslim countries in the world that, frankly, should be stepping up to the plate rather more".
A family of Rohingya refugees at the makeshift camp on Balukhali Hill in Cox's Bazar's Ukhia. Photo: mostafigur rahman
Taking the floor, Mark Field said, "It would be very dangerous for this to be seen as only a Muslim issue.
"It is a global humanitarian catastrophe, and while I accept what he says - that we want to see all nations contributing - to try to frame it in an ethnic way would be the wrong way forward."
Rushanara Ali, a Bangladesh-origin Labour MP, asked the minister whether they will be pursuing an independent security presence to protect the Rohingyas.
"Because otherwise, we are expecting the perpetrators of ethnic cleansing to be the ones managing this process?"
"Absolutely," Mark Field said in reply. "We will. I am also wary of the idea of having a long-term presence there, rather like what has happened in the Middle East where one has an unsustainable position for the longer term."
"But in the short term, we need to have an independent international presence to police this matter."
He also said the UK government concluded that the inexcusable violence perpetrated on the Rohingya by the Burmese military and ethnic Rakhine militia appears to be ethnic cleansing - or is ethnic cleansing.
The UK has been leading the international response diplomatically, politically and regarding humanitarian support.
Rushanara expressed concern over the supposed agreement between the Bangladeshis and the Burmese as what she terms 'is deeply problematic", given the state of camps in Rakhine and the way the Rohingya are being treated.
IT is totally unacceptable that the return of a migrant workers corpse from Saudi Arabia takes six months time as it sounds quite unimaginable at this time of quick moving transportation system. Media report said even if an expatriate worker dies his body faces intricate accountability regime to Saudi bureaucratic ...
Reuters, BerlinChina's growing military strength and a resurgent Russia will pose growing challenges to the trans-Atlantic alliance in coming years, and NATO's moves to bolster its capabilities could trigger a new Cold War-style arms race, a NATO report said.The report, completed once every four years, identifies 20 global trends that ...
Yami Gautam is cherishing her most precious birthday gift today, which is an earring gifted to her by her Nani. The actress is today reminiscing about her grandmother as the earrings gifted to her by her Nani is an ethnic Pahari earring. Yami Gautam hails from Himachal Pradesh, so the ...
Jacqueline’s friends have been asking her to throw a party. The actress has been riding high on the success of her recent movie Judwaa 2. The movie not only garnered an amazing response from the audience and but has also kept the cash counters ringing. Jacqueline’s character was loved by ...
AFP, Milan :Italy's veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has eased some of his World Cup heartache by winning the Serie A Best Player of the Year award."I'm happy and proud. I never thought I'd get this kind of trophy, and I'll hold on tight to it because I never won best ...
WHEN big loan scams are putting many private banks to insolvency for mismanagement and fund grabbing, the government plan to give license to three more banks on political consideration appears highly ill conceived decision. Many banks including state owned banks are on the brink. Farmers Bank Chairman Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir ...
Deepika Padukone recently won an award for marking 20m followers on Instagram. The actress shared her milestone achievement by posting a picture of her happily holding her award. To the fact that she is the most followed Asian Woman, Deepika has continued to amass a huge fan following ever since ...
AFP, Seoul :Radio signals and radar activity detected at a North Korean missile base have raised concerns the reclusive regime may be preparing a new missile test, news reports in Seoul and Tokyo said Tuesday.The North has stoked international alarm over its banned nuclear missile programme, but it has not ...
Reuters, Dublin :Irish Deputy Prime Minister Frances Fitzgerald was under intense pressure from her own party to resign on Tuesday to avoid a snap election that is hours away from being called, a crisis that is casting a shadow over next month's Brexit summit.The opposition party propping up the minority ...
TRANSPARENCY International Bangladesh (TIB) has rightly pointed that tight control on commercial gold import has left country's gold market largely unregulated. The high import duty instigates importers to bring gold using informal channel and depend on smugglers. It is clearly depriving the national exchequer of large chunk of revenue that ...