Minister will push Burma for humanitarian access to 'ethnic cleansing' state

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The Asia minister will use a visit to Burma to urge the country to allow humanitarian access to a region where Rohingya Muslims have suffered what "looks like ethnic cleansing" according to Theresa May.

Mark Field will reiterate the UK's call for the Burmese government and military to ensure full humanitarian access to Rakhine State when he attends the Asia-Europe meeting (ASEM) in the south-east Asian country on Monday.

The Prime Minister earlier this month described images of young Rohingya children "emaciated and pleading for help" as "heartbreaking" and suggested that violence against them "looks like ethnic cleansing".

Attacks on Rohingya villages began in August and have prompted more than 618,000 people to flee into Bangladesh.

Mr Field said ahead of the summit in Nay Pyi Taw: "ASEM is an important forum that allows us to confront challenges ranging from regional and global security to climate change and migration.

"I could not attend without raising the humanitarian crisis in Rakhine State and reiterating the international community's call for the Burmese government and military to urgently ensure full humanitarian access, allow the return of refugees and protect civilians.

"We need swift action to prevent further suffering."