Labour MEPs: EU must step up pressure on Myanmar and work with UN to seek justice for Rohingya

The European Parliament today backed a resolution condemning the attacks on the Rohingya in Myanmar and Bangladesh and calling for economic measures against Naypyidaw and for the perpetrators to be held to account.

The resolution calls on the European External Action Service and EU countries to seek accountability for those responsible for committing crimes in Myanmar, and to take the lead at the UN, to ensure the urgent establishment of an international, impartial, and independent mechanism to support investigations into alleged atrocities.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, has described the operations of the Myanmar government as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” and a “cynical ploy to forcibly transfer large numbers of people without possibility of return”.

Wajid Khan MEP, member of the European Parliament foreign affairs and human rights committees, and Socialists and Democrats Group negotiator, said:

“There is a dire need to step up the international support during this critical time to address the humanitarian needs of both refugees and host communities. But sadly, only a fifth of the UN Joint Response Plan’s appeal for funding has been met.

“We need a comprehensive and long-term approach to this humanitarian crisis because there is no realistic prospect of safe and voluntary return. We also cannot forget the root cause of this tragedy.

“Myanmar must feel the pressure of economic action against it, and the perpetrators of these vile, unspeakable atrocities must be brought to justice. We cannot sit by and watch as ethnic cleansing takes place.”

Wajid Khan MEP added:

“Tomorrow is the festival of Eid, a time to feast and celebrate with family and friends. Sadly, this will be an Eid to forget for Myanmar’s Rohingya community.

“Rohingyas are going from crisis to crisis. The next four months threaten catastrophic risk for the refugees, especially children – heavy rains mark the start of the monsoon season, which is predicted to bring with it disease, landslides, flash flooding, and death.

“The EU must lead the call for justice and, with the wider international community, explore all avenues to hold perpetrators to account and ensure evidence of atrocities is collected and preserved for future legal proceedings.

“But the monsoon season is now. So saving lives must be our priority.”