UK urges Burma to address root causes of Rohingya boat crisis

FILE - In this June 13, 2012 file photo, a Rohingya Muslim man who fled Myanmar to Bangladesh to escape religious violence, cries as he pleads from a boat after he and others were intercepted by Bangladeshi border authorities in Taknaf, Bangladesh. She is known as the voice of Myanmar's downtrodden but there is one oppressed group that Aung San Suu Kyi does not want to discuss. For weeks, Suu Kyi has dodged questions on the plight of a Muslim minority known as the Rohingya, prompting rare criticism of the woman whose struggle for democracy and human rights in Myanmar have earned her a Nobel Peace Prize, and adoration worldwide. (AP Photo/Anurup Titu, File)

(By Shahid Qureshi – London) : Hugo Swire raises concerns with Burmese Ambassador. Foreign Office Minister for Asia Hugo Swire has urged Burma to act swiftly to tackle the root causes of the humanitarian crisis in South East Asia, with thousands of people stranded at sea in desperate conditions.

In a meeting with the Burmese Ambassador in London, he urged Burma to do more to address the underlying causes of the crisis – not least the lack of humanitarian access in Rakhine state and the Rohingya’s lack of basic rights, which are driving people to make the dangerous journey from Burma to other countries in the region. He also called on Burma to work with Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and other regional partners to tackle the immediate humanitarian issues, and to send a senior representative to the regional coordination meeting in Thailand on 29 May.

Hugo Swire said:

We are deeply concerned about the thousands of people adrift in the Andaman Sea and Malacca Straits with limited supplies of food, water and fuel. There are immediate humanitarian issues which need to be addressed in a comprehensive regional response. But it is also vital that Burma takes this opportunity to address the longer-term issues which lie at the root of the problem – namely the desperate conditions in which Rohingya communities are living in Rakhine state.