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DFID assistance to Burmese internally displaced people and refugees on the Thai-Burma border - Second evidence session

Tuesday 12 June 2007 at 10:30 am in Committee Room 6

At 10.30:

€ Christian Aid

€ Merlin

€ Marie Stopes International

At 11.30:

€ Ashley South, Independent Consultant

€ Maung Zarni, Visiting Research Fellow, Department of International Development, Oxford University

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Hundreds of thousands of Burmese people have left their homes since the establishment of military government in Burma in 1962, leading to mass displacement within Burma and into neighbouring countries. As in other cases of displacement, Burmese internally displaced people (IDPs) and refugees face particular humanitarian and development challenges. UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, has said about Burma: "Humanitarian needs are particularly acute in border areas that have been plagued for decades by instability and armed conflict."

The IDC's inquiry is exploring the following:

€ The particular needs of IDPs in Burma and refugees in Thailand.

€ The challenges faced in delivering aid and assistance to these groups.

€ How different ethnic groups are affected by displacement.

€ The likely trends in the region in terms of displacement, and development and humanitarian needs.

€ How donors can assist IDPs in Burma and refugees in Thailand most effectively.

€ The advantages and disadvantages of cross-border assistance compared to other ways of assisting IDPs in Burma.

€ The impact of the UK Department for International Development's (DFID) policies in relation to Burma's IDPs and refugees.

This is the second evidence session in the inquiry. The session will be split into two panels. The first panel offers the opportunity to explore the effectiveness of assistance delivered to IDPs and refugees by NGOs. Christian Aid is a member of the Thai Burma Border Consortium (TBBC), an alliance of NGOs delivering aid to refugees in camps along the Thai border. Merlin works on medical relief, primary healthcare and water and sanitation services for vulnerable populations within Burma. Marie Stopes International works on maternal, sexual and reproductive health in Burma, including work on HIV/AIDS.

The second session is with two commentators on the current situation in Burma. Ashley South is an independent consultant who has worked with the TBBC, the UN and DFID on delivering aid to IDPs and refugees. Maung Zarni founded the Free Burma Coalition in the USA in 1995 and is now a Visiting Research Fellow in the Department of International Development at the University of Oxford.

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Further Information:

The membership of the Committee is as follows: Malcolm Bruce MP (Chairman, Lib Dem), John Battle MP (Lab), John Bercow MP (Con), Hugh Bayley MP (Lab), Richard Burden MP (Lab), Mr Quentin Davies MP (Con), James Duddridge MP (Con), Ann McKechin MP (Lab), Joan Ruddock MP (Lab), Mr Marsha Singh MP (Lab). Sir Robert Smith MP (Lib Dem)

Committee Contact: Chloe Challender 020 7219 1522 or [email protected]

Media Enquiries: Alex Paterson, 020 7219 1589 or [email protected]

Committee website: www.parliament.uk/indcom

Watch committees and parliamentary debates online: www.parliamentlive.tv