Bangladesh, Burma and the Rohingya crisis Contents

3The Rohingya refugees


96.We have published two reports on the Rohingya crisis and discussed Burma’s role and responsibilities extensively in Chapter 2.

97.In our previous work we concluded that the horrific campaign of violence that led to the expulsion of the Rohingya was the culmination of decades of marginalisation and abuse and a textbook example of ethnic cleansing perpetrated by the Burmese military and security forces. This caused a humanitarian crisis of staggering size and complexity for Bangladesh and the international community to cope with. We acknowledged the immediate challenge of providing shelter, water, food, security, health and education services for an enormous, displaced and traumatised population. We recognised the further intractable challenges around the Rohingya’s longer term future, especially their accommodation and location; constitutional status, security and access to fundamental legal and human rights; as well as the likelihood that establishing satisfactory conditions for repatriation would be a protracted process.

First report and reply

98.We received and published the Government’s reply to our initial report on the crisis. In that reply, the Government demonstrated a broad measure of agreement with our analysis of the situation, with the exception of our conclusions that: evidence of discrimination and abuse of the Rohingya had been ignored; or that UK policy towards Burma had been unduly optimistic about the potential for full transition to democratic rule. We believe the key strategic sentiments in the Government’s reply are:

Second report and reply

99.Our further report on the crisis was, essentially, an urgent call for action in the light of the compelling pleas we heard in Cox’s Bazar for measures to be facilitated to protect the Rohingya from the expected heavy rainfall of the monsoon season. The key request was for more land to be found and prepared to enable those most vulnerable to move to safer ground. Since this second report on the crisis published in March after our visit to the refugee camps there have been a few developments but no emerging clarity about the longer term.

Recent developments

100.Recent key developments have been:


101.We stand by our two previous reports and the conclusions and recommendations we set out there. Alongside many other members of both Houses, we are increasingly horrified as more and more evidence and testimony emerges about the violent expulsion of the Rohingya by Burmese military forces. Yet, this is almost eclipsed by the threat to the Rohingya’s fraught and fragile foothold in Bangladesh as the monsoon season comes ever closer. At the same time, we would urge that the grave concerns we have identified over the longer term future of the Rohingya are not ignored in seeking solutions to this more imminent further chapter in the crisis.

102.We very much welcome the £70 million of new aid allocated by the UK to bolster the on-going work in Cox’s Bazar to prepare for the monsoon season. These resources will make a substantial difference and we trust that further donors will be inspired to follow suit.

103.We can only interpret the UNSC press statement of 9 May, issued following the visit by UN Security Council representatives to Bangladesh and Burma, as meaning that China, at least, threatens to veto any proposal for collective action in response to the Rohingya crisis.

104.In addition, to our previous work, there are two points to repeat and one to make at this juncture:

123 Bangladesh and Burma: the Rohingya crisis—monsoon preparedness in Cox’s Bazar: Government response to the Committee’s Third Report, Fifth Special Report, 2017–19, HC 1055, 22 May 2018

124 Report of the Secretary-General on conflict-related sexual violence, paragraphs 10, 12, 17, 55–60 and Annex - List of parties credibly suspected of committing or being responsible for patterns of rape or other forms of sexual violence in situations of armed conflict on the agenda of the Security Council, p34, “Parties in Myanmar, State actors: (a) Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw).” (Http:// But see

126 Pregnant Rohingya Refugees Are in Desperate Need, Joint article by UN Envoy for Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, and UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Andrew Gilmour, Bloomberg, 9 May 2018

128 This contribution will see the UK providing 10.5% of the total budget set out in the JRP of March 2018.

130 UN Security Press Statement, 9 May 2018, SC/13331

Published: 22 May 2018