BRUSSELS: Today the EU Foreign Affairs Council met to conclude decisive international action in response to the dire situation faced by the Rohingya at the hands of the Burmese military. Tun Khin, President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK said, “We welcome today’s decision by EU foreign ministers as much needed international action to protect the Rohingya from genocide. We now look to the EU to swiftly implement the policy it set out today.”
“We thank the international community, in particular Bangladesh, for its support to Rohingya refugees. However, we remain deeply concerned about the risk of forcible returns. To mitigate this risk, EU states – from their embassies in Burma to their missions to the UN – must intensify efforts to press for UNHCR’s participation in the repatriation process. In addition, key issues, including citizenship status, numbers of refugees to be voluntarily repatriated, and freedom of movement, should be decided before returns begin. Therefore, refugees themselves must also be provided a seat at the table to determine their futures” said Dr Anita Schug, European Rohingya Council Spokesperson.
The Foreign Affairs Council invited High Representative Mogherini to make proposals for punitive measures against senior military officers. Kyaw Win, Executive Director of Burma Human Rights Network, said, “We welcome the EU’s decision to impose targeted sanctions. To ensure these sanctions have the most impact, the EU should focus on the economic interests of senior individuals in the Burmese military responsible for some of the worst atrocities taking place in Rakhine. In particular, we urge the EU to investigate which, if any, European financial institutions these individuals are using as part of their economic interests outside of Burma. In this regard, the EU should also work with ASEAN countries to coordinate similar measures.”
“Targeted sanctions should be seen as a means to the end, not the end itself by the EU,” continued Kyaw Win, “Myanmar has refused entry for UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee and the Human Rights Council’s Fact-Finding Mission. Reports about the military’s efforts to destroy evidence continue. Human rights are the silver thread through all of the EU’s policies. The EU should therefore lead efforts to hold perpetrators accountable for the genocide occurring against the Rohingya. We ask that the EU steer international efforts to refer Burma to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and, recognising the difficult path to the ICC, support universal jurisdiction cases.
Tun Khin concluded, “The Foreign Affairs Council conclusions come just ahead of the EU Myanmar Human Rights Dialogue and at the start of the 37th session of the UN Human Rights Council. We stand ready to work with the EU to use these occasions to communicate to Burma’s authorities that they must take concrete steps to demonstrate respect for the rights of the Rohingya and other minorities.
For Media Enquires Please Contact:
Tun Khin, President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK
Telephone: +44 788 871 4866
Dr. Anita Schug, Spokesperson of the European Rohingya Council
Kyaw Win, Executive Director of the Burma Human Rights Network
Telephone: +44 740 345 2378