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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 23 October 2018

UK to announce support for victims of sexual violence in Myanmar

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt will hold talks with maligned state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi during his visit to the country

Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi will meet with Jeremy Hunt during his visit to the country. Reuters
Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi will meet with Jeremy Hunt during his visit to the country. Reuters

Britain Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt has arrived in Myanmar for a two-day visit and announced UK funding for victims of sexual violence in the country – including Rohingyas expelled from the country during the recent campaign by the military in the Rakhine province.

Mr Hunt will hold talks with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi during his visit. Ms Suu Kyi was previously feted across the globe for her commitment to human rights causes but has been criticised for her lack of action on the plight of the Rohingyas.

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Hunt will visit the Association for the Assistance of Political Prisoners to talk to human rights defenders and visit northern Rakhine, the region that has seen thousands of Muslim Rohingyas flee to camps in Bangladesh.

Mr Hunt said in a statement: “The United Nations fact-finding mission exposed terrible suffering in Burma, and in the face of such serious allegations, no country that considers itself humane can stand back and do nothing. We are determined to do all we can to provide security, dignity and justice to the victims. It will be a long journey, but it starts with their conditions right now.

“We have already provided counselling and psychological support to more than 10,000 women and deployed mid-wives to help provide care to over 53,000 women. Together with our international partners, we will increase our support for those who have been victim of these heinous acts.

Before leaving for Myanmar, Mr Hunt met with representatives of the Rohingya community who have settled in Bradford in the north of the UK where he was told about the suffering that the community had faced in Rakhine.

The foreign secretary will say that British efforts will “include additional deployment of the PSVI Team of Experts by the end of 2018, development of a code of conduct for gathering such evidence, support for an enhanced coordination mechanism, and more capacity building. We are also exploring options to increase psycho-social support.”