§ 11. Mrs. Anne Campbell
To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions have taken place with the Government of Bangladesh about human rights issues in the Chittagong hill tracts.
§ The Parliamentary Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr. Mark Lennox-Boyd)
We regularly remind the Bangladesh Government of our concerns about human rights in the Chittagong hill tracts.
§ Mrs. Campbell
Will the Minister make further representations to the Government of Bangladesh about the illegal arrests, torture and rape taking place there, as well as the massacre of tribal people that occurred on 17 November 1993? Will he also make representations to the Indian Government to allow the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and other aid agencies access to the refugee camps to which many of the indigenous people have escaped?
§ Mr. Lennox-Boyd
I last made representations about the problems in the Chittagong hill tracts to the Bangladeshi Finance Minister less than two weeks ago when he was in London. Our high commissioner made representations to the chairman of the special committee responsible for discussions with representatives from the Chittagong hill tracts, who is a Minister in Bangladesh. So we are continuing to make representations. As for United Nations involvement, that is not the wish of either of the Governments concerned. However, the hon. Lady will be pleased to learn that there are strong signs that refugees in India wish to return to the Chittagong hill tracts. The fact that they are contemplating doing that shows that the situation must be improving.