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Rushanara Ali MP calls for action to help Rohingya Muslims in Burma

Rushanara Ali MP in Burma

By Adam Barnett
April 24, 2014

Rushanara Ali has voiced her concerns about the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Burma with the foreign secretary William Hague in Parliament.

The Bethnal Green and Bow MP says she is pushing the government to do more to tackle their suffering, having visited the Rakhine state of Burma between April 26 to May 2 last year. 

She asked Mr Hague what action he is taking to stop the Burmese government - which receives £10million in aid from the UK - from using its census to discriminate against Rohingya Muslims.

The government said it recently allocated £5.8million of humanitarian funds to help people in Rakhine state,

Speaking afterwards, Ms Ali said: “I welcome efforts made by the UK to fund humanitarian work in Burma. But aid by itself is not enough. 

“That’s why I’m calling on the Burmese authorities to address the culture of marginalisation and discrimination of the Rohingya community in Burma. We need to ensure that money sent from the UK to conduct any official census is not misused.”

She added: “I visited Burma last year to see for myself how the Rohingya are marginalised. What must happen is a review of the 1982 Citizenship Law which renders the Rohingya stateless, denying them basic human rights. 

“The international community – with Britain taking the lead – must now apply pressure on the Burmese Government to facilitate humanitarian access and improve freedom of religion in Burma.”

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