31 MAY 2018
Thank you for taking the time to email me about EDM 1219.
I understand you would like me to sign EDM 1219, however like many MPs I do not sign any EDMs no matter how worthy the cause. This is because EDMs now cost a huge amount per year to administer and have no chance of changing the Law. They are in effect petitions which only MPs can sign. They have also been superseded by online petitions which can be on any issue for which the Government or Parliament is responsible and any which receive 10,000 signatures will receive a response from the Government. Those petitions which reach 100,000 signatures will almost always be debated in Parliament – unless it is an issue which has recently been debated. There are also concerns that EDMs may give a false impression that action is being taken.
Nonetheless, I hope the following information on this topic from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office is reassuring:
The UN Security Council recently visited Burma, where the UK's Permanent Representative to the UN made representations to senior members of Burma's government on the treatment of the Rohingya. Additionally, on 3 May, the British Ambassador to Burma met the Commander-in-Chief of Burma's military and urged him to accept an inquiry with international involvement into the human rights violations carried out against the Rohingya.
The UK is a staunch supporter of the ICC and the UK Government remains committed to working with all its international partners to secure justice for what has taken place in Rakhine. We are awaiting a decision from the ICC on whether it has jurisdiction over the deportation of the Rohingya from Burma to Bangladesh, on the basis that Bangladesh, unlike Burma, is a signatory to the Rome Statute that established the ICC.
The UN Security Council could refer Burma to the ICC, but there is currently insufficient support on the Security Council, and Ministers have been clear that a vetoed attempt at a referral would undermine our position.
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