Lord Alton of Liverpool – 2015 Parliamentary Question to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool on 2015-11-02.

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the findings in reports by Yale Law School and Queen Mary University of London, and an investigation by Al-Jazeera, as well as research by Fortify Rights, that claim to provide evidence that genocide is being committed against the Rohingya people in Burma.

Baroness Anelay of St Johns

These and other disturbing reports from Rakhine State make clear that the Rohingya are being persecuted and denied the most basic rights. We welcome the work of a highly effective UN Special Rapporteur on Burma, who has shone a spotlight on violations against the Rohingya in Rakhine. She has not characterised the treatment of the Rohingya as genocide, and neither did the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide in his 4 November Statement on Burma’s elections.

However, any judgement on whether genocide has occurred is a matter for international judicial decision, rather than for governments or non-judicial bodies. A UN investigation would require high level international support for which we assess there is little prospect of agreement at this stage. Our approach is to seek an end to all violations, irrespective of whether or not they fit the definition of specific international crimes. British Government Ministers take every appropriate opportunity, both publicly and in private, to press the Burmese authorities to take urgent steps to address the situation of the Rohingya. Most recently, the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), did so with the Burmese Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin in September in New York.