Valerie meets with Cardinal Bo to discuss the situation in Burma

I met with His Eminence Cardinal Charles Maung Bo Archbishop of Yangon and Ben Rogers, East Asia Team Leader for Christian Solidarity Worldwide, on Monday 13 March 2017 for an update on the situation in Burma.

Cardinal Bo became Burma’s first ever Cardinal in 2015, and has long been one of the most outspoken voices for human rights, religious freedom, inter-religious harmony, peace and justice in the country. Cardinal Bo was visiting the UK to perform as a keynote speaker at “Flame” in Wembley Stadium, the largest National Catholic Youth event of 2017. I was delighted to be given the opportunity to speak with Cardinal Bo on his short visit to the UK.

Cardinal Bo said much has changed but the military are still not accountable.

On 26-27 April 2017, the Catholic Church, other Christian communities and people of other faiths — Muslims, Hindus and Buddhists — are holding an interfaith peace conference with plans to invite members of the military, armed groups and civil society.

Kofi Annan, a Ghanaian diplomat who served as the 7th Secretary-General of the United Nations from January 1997 to December 2006, is undertaking a report into Burma.

To support Aung San Suu Kyi, President of the National League for Democracy and State Counsellor of Burma, we need to make sure whole Parliament is elected and the military play no part in Parliament. That would represent true democracy.

A grave human tragedy is unfolding in Rakhine State, Burma, the number of human rights violations committed against the Rohingya by the Burmese Army have increased to 154 in 2016, compared to 84 in 2015, according to ND-Burma.

A report published by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on 3 February 2017 is heart-breaking and very profoundly disturbing. The report indicates that hundreds of Rohingya houses, schools, markets, shops, madrasas and mosques were burned by the army, police and sometimes civilian mobs. Witnesses also described the destruction of food sources, including paddy fields, and the confiscation of livestock.

Cross-party MP’s are calling on the British government to support a UN Commission of Inquiry into the situation in Rakhine State, Burma. On 2 February 2017 I asked the Leader of the House to ask the Foreign Secretary to give assistance to the Burmese Government in their quest for peace. I also signed a letter on 15 December 2016 to the Burmese Embassy in London calling for an end to the block on humanitarian aid to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Rakhine and Kachin States.