Rohingya Crisis Debate

28th November 2017
Following the Pope’s visit to Myanmar, Anne Main MP has strongly criticised the catholic leader for failing to mention the persecuted Rohingya Muslims by name, and said that the Burmese government was on ‘notice.’
  
Mrs Main took aim at the Pope during the debate who she criticised for refusing to, ‘bring himself to call [the refugees] Rohingya’.  
 
‘[The] Pope is wrong not to describe them for who they are and what they are,’ Anne lamented in parliament.  She went on to say that the, ‘Rohingya… should be recognised as that. We shouldn’t be pressured into calling them anything other than what they are.’  
 
The St Albans MP’s intervention came after the Pope bent to pressure not to refer to the persecuted Muslims as Rohingya.  The Myanmar authorities refuse to class the refugees as Rohingya, preferring instead to call them ‘Bengalis’ – inferring that they are not Burmese citizens.  Rather the Burmese government believes that the Rohingya are stateless people who have come from Bangladesh into Myanmar.   
 
Mrs Main called for further action by the international community and the UK government to put further pressure on, saying that, ‘we must put Myanmar on notice – the world must know what they have done and they should be held accountable’.  Anne also urged the government not to ‘pussy foot around,’ stating that, ‘this is clearly ethnic cleansing’.  
 
Speaking after the debate, Anne said: ‘I was pleased to once again have the opportunity to share the dreadful plight of the Rohingya people with the Minister. I felt the debate was useful and I was pleased that the Minister listened carefully to the growing concerns shared by fellow MPs.
 
‘I sincerely hope that tougher measures are imposed upon Myanmar as the time for talking is running out. Targeted sanctions are clearly the next step if the situation does not improve immediately.’  

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