Members of Parliament visit refugee camps in Bangladesh amidst Humanitarian Crisis

Published 08 November 2017

10 UK MPs and Peers will visit Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh on 8 November as part of a visit to strengthen ties with Bangladesh and explore the relief efforts from the international community as it searches for a resolution to the issue. 

The visit follows a call for urgent action by Commonwealth Parliamentarians to the international community on 7 November and a briefing by the Bangladeshi Foreign Minister at the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference in Dhaka. UK Parliamentarians will explore the response and coordination from the international community and the valuable contributions from DfID, as part of Parliament's responsibility to scrutinise effectively.

The visit, which has been welcomed by UNHCR and the International Rescue Committee in Bangladesh, will better inform the cross-party delegation of MPs and Peers about the crisis and the humanitarian response to help the 600,000 refugees that have fled from Myanmar.

The visit has been arranged by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association UK (CPA UK) with the UK Parliament. Both are committed to contributing to sustainable development and supporting good governance and human rights in Bangladesh.

The Delegation Leader, the Rt Hon. Lord Foulkes of Cumnock said:

“The UK has a special responsibility to support our fellow members of the Commonwealth. We as parliamentarians also have a duty to hold the UK government to account.

“That is why we will be going back to the Houses of Parliament to further ensure effective steps are being taken to tackle the humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh, as I will do on 23 November in the House of Lords during Oral Parliamentary Questions."

Louise Aubin, UNHCR's Senior Emergency Coordinator in Cox's Bazar said:

"The government and people of Bangladesh have been incredibly generous to Rohingya refugees over the years. By granting asylum they help these vulnerable people to regain some sense of dignity and of protection. In addition to life-saving assistance, the newly-arrived refugees need psychological support to overcome trauma and, importantly, they need to be reunited with family members they may have been separated from during the flight.

“We welcome the visit of UK Parliamentarians and hope this visit gives them an insight into the situation so they can be better informed decision makers.”

Delegation to Bangladesh

The visit to refugee camps will be an insight into the coordination and contributions from the international community.

The delegates spent the first part of their time in Bangladesh attending the Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) to develop a strong network of UK and Commonwealth Parliamentarians.

CPC helps develop parliamentary networks across the Commonwealth to face global challenges such as modern slavery and good governance. These Commonwealth networks are particularly important at a crucial time for the UK, and ahead of the UK-hosted Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, more commonly known as CHOGM, in London in April 2018. 

The overall main conference theme for the 63rd CPC will be ‘Continuing to enhance the high standards of performance of Parliamentarians’.

The UK delegation is led by Rt Hon. Lord Foulkes of Cumnock and consists of Dr Roberta Blackman-Woods MP, Lord Davies of Stamford, Paul Flynn MP, Philip Hollobone MP,  Rt Hon. Maria Miller MP, Yasmin Qureshi MP, Virendra Sharma MP,  Eleanor Smith MP,  Jo Stevens MP and Baroness Uddin.