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European Union Must Support International Investigation Into Human Rights Abuses Against Rohingya

February 03, 2014

Members of the European Burma Network express their deep concern at reports of further massacres of members of the Rohingya ethnic group in Burma. The report by the United Nations that at least 48 Rohingya men women and children have been killed, and that police were involved, provides yet more evidence that the current approach by both the government of Burma and the European Union to address ongoing abuses against the Rohingya is failing.

Members of the European Burma Network are concerned by the muted response of the European Union to the latest reported massacre.

We are also concerned about reports of rape and mass arrests. No action has been taken by the government of Burma or the European Union in response to continuing and consistent reports of the use of rape in Rakhine State since the latest wave of violence began in 2012. The United Nations confirmed the deaths of 68 Rohingya in jail following mass arrests in 2012, where torture was used against those detained. We are concerned that there could be a repeat of these incidents following any new mass arrests. International observers should be given access to prisons to assess if arrests have taken place and if prisoners are being mistreated.

Human Rights Watch has gathered evidence of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya. The European Union has taken no action in response to this evidence.

Repeated demands by the European Union and European Parliament for action to ensure the human rights of the Rohingya have been either flatly rejected, or little or no action has actually been taken by the government of Burma. These include demands to ensure Rohingya communities are protected, to take action against those taking part in and inciting violence, to release Rohingya political prisoners, to repeal or amend the 1982 Citizenship Law, to investigate recent violence, and allow unhindered and safe humanitarian access.

Even before the latest reported incident, it is clear that the government of Burma is not willing to voluntarily take action in relation to attacks and human rights abuses against the Rohingya of Burma. Their investigation into the attacks against the Rohingya will not be impartial, they have already said no incident took place apart from the killing of a police man. The current approach of the European Union has failed to influence the government of Burma. In fact, since the reform process began in Burma, and the European Union switched its approach from pressure to partnership, the situation of the Rohingya has rapidly deteriorated.

European Union policy on Burma can no longer ignore the serious violations of international law which are taking place against the Rohingya. The European Union must review its current approach in light of its failure.

Signed By

Actions Birmanie (Belgium)
Association Suisse-Birmanie
Austrian Burma Center
Burma Action Ireland
Burma Aktion (Germany)
Burma Campaign UK
Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK
Christian Solidarity Worldwide
Info Birmanie (France)
Norwegian Burma Committee
Society for Threatened Peoples – Germany
Swedish Burma Committee

Rohingya Victims, whose family members were killed and houses were destroyed, at the village of Duchiradan [Photo Credit: FB/U Shwe Maung (MP)]