Last month in the British parliament, Caroline Lucas MP put a question to Hugo Swire MP, regarding precursors to genocide of the Rohingya. Mr Swire avoided answering her important question by answering a different question that was not asked. I have therefore emailed the following communication to Mr Swire:
Dear Mr Swire,
Re: question posed by Caroline Lucas MP in parliament on 19 June 2014, concerning precursors to genocide of the Rohingya, and your response:
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for
Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of whether
precursors of genocide exist in Burma for the Rohingya; and if he will
make a statement.
Mr Swire: It is the policy of the British
Government that any judgment on whether genocide has occurred is a
matter for international judicial decision, rather than for governments
or non-judicial bodies.
I feel that you avoided answering this very important question. You were not asked whether genocide has taken place, but rather if the British government has assessed whether precursors to genocide exist. We all know they do exist thanks to the excellent research carried out by organisations such as End Genocide (please see their recent report 'Marching to genocide in Burma' http://endgenocide.org/marching-genocide-burma/ ). Here you can listen to the director of End Genocide, Tom Andrews, talking recently regarding the high risk of escalation in the violence into full blown genocide:
It appears that the British government are ignoring such warnings and are continuing to invest in Burma, sending aid to the very authorities that are working to eliminate the Rohingya. Surely it is the responsibility of every government worldwide to listen to the professional warnings of genocide and to act accordingly? Do we have to wait until several decades later, after a genocide is completed, for international courts to confirm what we knew was happening but chose to ignore. Is this really British policy?
I therefore request that you pass on the original question to William Hague, as was requested by Caroline Lucas, and call for an urgent assessment as to whether the British government is turning a blind eye to the precursors of genocide for the Rohingya in Burma.
Human Rights Activist
You can read the full details of the question and answer, as well as a detailed parliamentary debate on the issue of persecuted minorities in Burma, in the June Burma briefing by Burma Campaign UK:
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