By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal
Theresa May vows to try to ensure Rohingya plight is brought to world attention and people do not forget
LONDON -- Britain’s prime minister said on Tuesday that they constantly raise the issue of the oppressed Rohingya at the UN and directly with Myanmar’s government “to constantly raise awareness that this is an issue people should be addressing.”
Taking questions at a committee meeting in parliament, Theresa May said the U.K. will continue to support Bangladesh for supporting the Rohingya refugees and “to press this as an issue with the government of Burma,” using an older name for Myanmar.
Upon a question by Steven Twigg, who heads parliament’s International Development Committee, May said they will also continue to do “what we can to ensure the plight of the Rohingya people is brought to the attention of the world more generally and that people don’t forget… and it is kept up in people’s awareness.”
During the session, Twigg reminded the committee that Myanmar’s Embassy in London last month denied a British parliamentary delegation visas for a planned visit to Bangladesh and Myanmar to visit refugee camps for evaluation.
The cross-party parliament committee’s “visit was planned as part of the committee’s inquiry into the Department for International Development’s work in Bangladesh and Burma,” the committee had said.
“We are extremely disappointed. It is hard to escape the conclusion that this is a direct consequence of our report on the Rohingya,” Twigg said after the visa denial.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, some 750,000 refugees, mostly children and women, fled Myanmar when Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to the UN. At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors Without Borders.
In a report published on Dec. 12, the global humanitarian organization said that the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.
The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.