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Volume 497: debated on Thursday 22 October 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Government of India on the situation of the Chin refugees in Mizoram state; and if he will make a statement. (294670)

My right hon. Friends the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary are in regular contact with their Indian counterparts on the subject of Burma.

The UK believes that the status quo in Burma is inherently unstable and that the case of the Chin refugees is just one example of the Burmese regime's repressive policies towards the country's ethnic groups.

We also remain concerned by the effects of a rat infestation in Chin state during the last two years and the plight of the Chin refugees in India.

In response to an assessment undertaken by the UN, the Department for International Development has approved funding of £880,000 for emergency aid delivered through the UN Development Programme, the World Food Programme and their local partners. About 65,000 people have benefited from this aid. We are keeping the situation under close review.