INTERVISTA – EU must reconsider its relations with Myanmar

anadolu agency

By Kyaw Ye Lynn

‘EU must reconsider its relations with Myanmar’

YANGON, Myanmar 

A delegation of the European Parliament on Friday called for an international independent probe into the alleged ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in western Rakhine state.

According to the UN, over 656,000 Rohingya have crossed from Rakhine into Bangladesh since Aug. 25, when Myanmar’s military launched a crackdown against the minority Muslim community.

At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to a global humanitarian organization.

In a report published on Dec. 12, 2017, Doctors Without Borders said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.

The nine-member Human Rights Subcommittee of the European Parliament said the current situations pose a serious risk to the country’s transition from military dictatorship to democracy.

“We have learnt that there are still many forms of human rights violation in Myanmar. And we believe there is a serious risk of returning to the past,” said Pier Antonio Panzeri, chair of the sub-committee, at a news conference in Nay Pyi Taw on Friday.

The delegation visited Myanmar for five days to gain a first-hand impression of the current situation, which forced the Rohingya Muslims to flee the country in large numbers.

In addition to the Rohigya situations, the delegation said the human rights situation is obviously deteriorating in several regions of the country and affecting many minority ethnic and religious groups.

Pier Antonio Panzeri said the European Parliament will suggest the EU to reconsider its relations with Myanmar and develop new policies.

The delegation has repeated its call for an unhindered humanitarian access to conflict areas of the country including Rakhine state, and an independent international investigation into the mass atrocities against Rohingya Muslims.

It however backs the repatriation process based on the agreement between Myanmar and Bangladeshi governments, but said it must be safe and voluntary.

“The UN refugee agency should be allowed to involve in the process,” he said.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

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