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Rohingya crisis: UK mounts pressure on Myanmar to act

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson urged state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi to use her ‘remarkable qualities’ to end violence and prejudice against the Muslim minority.

world Updated: Sep 10, 2017 19:11 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Rohingya Muslim refugee children follow a vehicle with relief supplies near the Bangladeshi town of Teknaf on Sunday.
Rohingya Muslim refugee children follow a vehicle with relief supplies near the Bangladeshi town of Teknaf on Sunday.(AFP)

Britain on Sunday reiterated its demand that the Myanmar government act to stop violence against the Rohingya minority in the Rakhine province and allow access to aid workers, making the third such intervention on the issue this month.

Foreign secretary Boris Johnson urged state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi to use her ‘remarkable qualities’ to end violence and prejudice against the Muslim minority, andseveral MPs laterexpressed dismay in the House of Commons at the situation.

The latest voice from the British establishment is that of Priti Patel, International development secretary, who said: “The appalling violence in Rakhine must stop now. Britain urgently calls upon the security forces to de-escalate the situation in Rakhine”.

Patel called for ‘immediate and full humanitarian access and support’ for the people and communities affected, and alleged that her department and partners were unable to get the access they needed to reach the victims.

She said: “Right now, aid workers are getting British-funded humanitarian assistance to more than 80,000 people in parts of Rakhine state and this work must be allowed to continue unimpeded”.

“Elsewhere, DFID’s partners are ready to provide emergency food to 30,000 people and to treat more than 3,000 severely malnourished children and pregnant women, but cannot get the access they need. Things must change. The government of Burma must act now and allow this desperately needed help to get through”.

Britain, Patel said, will continue to meet the humanitarian needs of vulnerable Rohingya who have fled into Bangladesh, providing over 55,000 people with food and protecting the most vulnerable, including women and girls.

“But with more people fleeing for their safety, Britain is immediately releasing a further £5 million from existing funds to provide additional critical life-saving assistance - such as food, shelter, water and sanitation to those who are fleeing the violence”, she added.

Patel said Britain was ready to support the recommendations of the Kofi Annan-led Rakhine Advisory Commission to assist the long-term development of all people in Rakhine state, but now the immediate action is for the security forces to end the violence and Yangon to allow humanitarian access.