Two Burnley organisations, fighting to bring awareness to the plight of Rohingya refugees, have made their voices heard in the Houses of Parliament.
Members of Burnley Awami League and charity Burnley Generous Hands were joined by the British Rohingya Community as they visited Westminster to speak with MPs, including Burnley’s Julie Cooper.
More than half a million Rohingya people have fled the destruction of their homes in Myanmar for neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017.
The UN has called this military offensive a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”, although Myanmar’s military says it is fighting Rohingya militants and denies targeting civilians.
Ibby Ali, chairman of the Burnley Generous Hands, said it was imperative that more action was taken to help families who were being pushed away from their homes and forced to set up shelters on a coast susceptible to severe flooding.
“We wanted to ask MPs if they realise that this is no longer ethnic cleansing but genocide. These people who have been forced to flee Myanmar, are now living in mud huts in Cox’s Bazar on the Bangladesh coast. When the monsoon season starts in May, these huts are going to be swept away.
"Flooding is a serious problem inland, here it is going to be disastrous. Something has to be done.
“The Bangladesh Government is doing what it can but they have their own issues to deal with. We need the UN to realise that this is still a real problem. One that is getting worse.
“These people are dying and there will be more deaths in the next few months. We need more help, we can only do so much.”
Burnley College students, Anisha Begum (17), Sonia Khan (18) and Iqra Bibi (17) also prepared questions to be ready out at the meeting.
Mr Ali said the meeting had proven extremely productive and he thanked Mrs Cooper for helping to arrange it.
He also commented that while the meeting focused on a very serious ongoing issue, time was given to recognise the fact the Bangladesh had just celebrated its 47th year of independence.
“I am from Bangladesh and this is a very important national day. That week we also found out that Bangladesh had gone from being a third world country to a developing country.
“This is a massive achievement and very heartwarming for everybody from there. It shows what can be achieved if everybody comes together. We need this now to help the Rohingya people.”