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UK welcomes greater press freedom in Burma and Rakhine State investigation

Foreign Office Minister Alistair Burt described this as an important time in Burma's transition as it works towards the goal of free and independent media and the establishment of full democracy.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

He said:

“Following the Foreign Secretary’s Statement of 13 August, the UK welcomes the government of Burma’s announcement that it will form an independent Investigation Commission to probe the recent inter-communal violence in Rakhine State. We also welcome the release of a number of UN and NGO workers who were detained following the recent outbreaks of violence in Rakhine State.

“Furthermore, we also welcome the recent steps taken by the government to ease censorship on print media. We look forward to Burma taking the further steps necessary to complete this process and put an end to censorship.

“We also stress the need for any independent investigation into the violence in Rakhine State to be credible. It needs to be genuinely independent of government, impartial, have fair procedures and involve a consultative process of all the affected communities concerned, including the Rohingya. We therefore urge the government to ensure that this process includes the views of all groups in Rakhine State. Those responsible for the violence need to be held accountable. In addition we continue to call upon the government to release from prison those who were arbitrarily detained during the recent unrest.

“This is an important time in Burma’s transition and the UK as always remains committed to assisting the government of Burma as it continues to work towards the goal of a free and independent media and the establishment of full democracy under the rule of law.”

Published 20 August 2012