Labour MEPs lead calls for EU to increase pressure on Myanmar to stop deadly assaults on Rohingya

Labour MEPs have led calls in the European Parliament for action to ratchet up the pressure on Myanmar to immediately cease its deadly assaults on the Rohingya.

MEPs voted today for a resolution condemning the attacks on the Rohingya in Rakhine state which calls for an immediate cessation of the attacks, and for Myanmar to grant immediate and unhindered access to human rights organisations, journalists and UN observers.

The resolution also calls for the United Nations to adopt effective diplomatic and political measures against Myanmar, and for the EU High Representative and national governments to significantly increase their pressure on Naypidaw.

Neena Gill MEP, who chaired negotiations on the resolution, said:

“The atrocities committed against the Rohingya minority in Myanmar are unspeakable and have been described by the UN rights chief as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.

“More than 300,000 people have fled to Bangladesh in recent weeks, with more trapped on a mine-riddled border, villages being burnt to the ground and widespread extrajudicial killings and torture taking place.

“State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi turning her back when a genocide is occurring is shameful. No less irresponsible has been the attitude of China, which holds pervasive influence over the military in Myanmar, but has been blocking meaningful action by the UN Security Council.

“We have long passed the stage where words alone suffice. That is why, in addition to the resolution adopted today, we have been calling for a proper debate to take place in the European Parliament next plenary and to secure access for independent international observers, the UN, journalists and aid workers.

“We urgently need to confront key actors in Myanmar using the combined leverage of all EU Member States. The Myanmar authorities, military and security forces must immediately cease the killings, harassment and rape of the Rohingya people.”

Wajid Khan MEP, speaking in Plenary, added:

“It’s not the first time that crimes against humanity have taken place against the Rohingya community. This Parliament has previously passed two resolutions on Myanmar last year, and yet the brutality and evil atrocities continue against the Rohingya Muslims.

“How many more women will be raped? How many more children will be tortured? How many more villages will be burned? What will it take for this genocide and ethnic cleansing to be stopped?

“The international community needs to move faster – we need urgent action and impact now. We will need to recognise the Rohingya Muslims and support humanitarian efforts, not just now, immediately, but in the long-term. This institution, the EU, is based on the values of peace and cooperation. It is only right that we show solidarity and play our part in bringing peace, justice and prosperity in Myanmar.

“These atrocities have to stop. Aung San Suu Kyi’s disgraceful reaction is prompted by the fear that speaking out in support of the Rohingya would trigger an angry reaction from the military.

“And yet, looking away while a genocide is taking place is shameful, and avoiding confrontation at the UN General Assembly is not the reaction of a Sakharov prize laureate, and any democratic leader.”