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Burma: Overseas Aid

Volume 478: debated on Monday 23 June 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what reports he has received on the additional guidelines for seeking travel permission and aid distribution clearance put in place by the Burmese authorities on 9 June; and what representations his Department has made to the Burmese authorities on this matter. (212074)

On 9 June the Ministry of Planning issued a new set of “Guiding Principles” to be followed by the UN, INGOs and NGOs in carrying out cyclone relief. The new guidance stated that all visas and permissions for internal travel and for the import and distribution of relief supplies were to be obtained through relevant line ministries, rather than centrally through the Ministry of Social Welfare. On 20 June the Government of Burma retracted the “Guiding Principles” and reverted to the previous system where all visas are processed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all travel permits by the Ministry of Social Welfare. We hope that this will be a positive move in facilitating access.