Thursday, January 15, 2015

Have you received a reply from the government?

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Burma Campaign UK News Update

Dear friend
Hugo Swire responds to letters on Burma's political reforms



If you supported our campaign calling on British Prime Minister David Cameron to stop being an ostrich on Burma, admit Burma's reform process has stalled, and return to a policy of prioritising human rights, you may have received a response from the government.
 
The response was from Hugo Swire MP, the Foreign Office Minister responsible for Burma, not from the Prime Minister. The response is published here.
 
Thank you to everyone who emailed the Prime Minister. As the Foreign Office response says, the Prime Minister received a large number of emails. You certainly got their attention, which is a vital first step in any campaign.
 
You also got them to admit that the situation in Rakhine State, where there is severe repression of the Rohingya, is worsening.
 
Sadly, the rest of the letter is very disappointing. It sums up the current approach of the British government. While they now admit there are problems, their only response is to raise issues with the Burmese government. They keep talking, but things either don't change, or even get worse. Despite this approach clearly failing, the British government is continuing with this failed approach.

Please take action and reply to the Minister's letter - a draft response is available to send here.
Parliament debates the situation of the Rohingya



Yesterday, there was a debate in the British Parliament about the situation of the Rohingya in Burma.
 
During the debate, MPs highlighted the ongoing humanitarian crisis, the discriminatory 1982 Citizenship Law, violations of international law against the Rohingya, restrictions on marriage, and many other forms of abuse and repression faced by the Rohingya in Burma.
 
Hugo Swire MP responded on behalf of the British government. As in the letter to Burma Campaign UK supporters, Hugo Swire said that he has repeatedly raised these issues with the Burmese government. As the situation continues to get worse, it is clear that just talking about the problems is not working, but the government still refuses to consider trying different ideas.
 
He refused to back a call for the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to take the lead in negotiating humanitarian access in Rakhine/Arakan State.
 
When asked in the debate about whether he agreed crimes against humanity have been committed against the Rohingya, he said that it "is for the international courts to decide." However, the British government is refusing to support an international investigation into human rights violations against the Rohingya.
 
You can read the transcript of the debate here.
Last Month in Parliament - has your MP been active on Burma?



Every month we publish 'Last Month in Parliament', a round-up of all the issues relating to Burma in the British Parliament. It includes all the questions that MPs have asked about Burma, details of debates, like the debate on the Rohingya yesterday, and the activities of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Burma.
 
Making sure MPs stay active on Burma is an essential part of the campaign and really helps keep the pressure on the British government.
 
You can read the latest edition of Last Month in Parliament here and see if your MP has been active on Burma.
Regular support helps our campaigns

In order to support Burma's activists in their struggle for freedom in Burma and campaign for real change, we need your committed support.  
 
The best way to support Burma Campaign UK is with a regular donation.
 
You can support our campaigns with a regular donation using PayPal. You can donate in any currency from any country in the world.
 
Just go to: http://burmacampaign.org.uk/donate/donate-now/ 
 
As a regular supporter, you will receive our campaign magazine, Burma Campaign News, keeping you up to date with all the latest news and campaigns. The latest issue has just gone to print, so donate now and you'll get a copy hot off the press!
 
Whatever you can afford to give to support our work will make a difference.
Thank you for your continued support.

Anna Roberts
Burma Campaign UK
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