HC Deb 22 May 1974 vol 874 cc167-8W
Mr. Thorne

asked the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had on the plight of the Biharis in Bangladesh; whether the International Committee of the Red Cross is still providing aid; whether the British Government are assisting and, if so, in what way; and if he will make a statement.

Mr. Ennals

I discussed the question of the Biharis with Dr. Kamal Hossain, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, during Dr. Hossain's visit to London early this month. I understand that the International Committee of the Red Cross, to whose relief activities in the sub-continent Her Majesty's Government have made substantial financial contributions, has now handed over its relief work among the non-Bangalees in Bangladesh to the Bangladesh Government and to certain welfare agencies. The International Committee of the Red Cross continues to assist the United Nations High Commission for Refugees in the transfer of populations between Pakistan and Bangladesh. RAF aircraft made a substantial contribution to this transfer.