On 17th December 2018 Lord Ahmed asked the Government “what assessment they have made of the situation of Rohingya refugees and the likelihood of their safe return to Burma.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Revd Tim Dakin, asked a follow-up question:
The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, the diocese of Winchester has had a link with Burma/Myanmar since the late 19th century. This gateway state to Asia is therefore of great interest to the praying Christians of the diocese. Will the Minister confirm what action Her Majesty’s Government have taken to ensure the guaranteed security of existing internally displaced persons in Rakhine state and of any refugees who voluntarily return to Myanmar?
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The right reverend Prelate raises an important issue about ensuring the security and safety of those who are in Burma. We continue to raise this directly with the civilian and military authorities. He will be aware that one of the first visits that the Foreign Secretary made on his appointment was to Burma to raise the very concerns that the right reverend Prelate highlighted.
On the safe return of refugees, I made it clear in answer to the previous question that the United Kingdom stands by the Rohingya community and supports their needs in Bangladesh. They should not return until we can guarantee their safety and security—and, above all, their return should be voluntary.