The European Parliament stresses that warming relations between EU and Burma should not become a blank check for persecution of Rohingya

19/06/2013
Press release

The European Parliament last Thursday adopted a resolution condemning the persecution and violence targeting the Rohingya and other Muslim minorities perpetuated by or with the complicity of the Burmese authorities. The European Parliament urged the Burmese authorities to put an immediate end to the human rights abuses, make a full and independent investigation into allegations of security forces’ participation in the violence, prosecute perpetrators of the violent attacks and other related abuses, and to open the access to humanitarian aid.

The resolution also calls for the establishment of an OHCHR office in the country (an initiative that has stalled since an agreement to do so last year) and the revocation of the discriminatory policies, rules, regulations or laws, with specific reference to the 1982 Citizenship Law and the reintroduction of the two-child policy for Rohingya.

"Altsean-Burma, FIDH and other international NGO have extensively documented the violations of human rights occurring in Burma, as well as the persecution of Rohingya which has been described by the United Nations Special Rapporteur Tomás Ojea Quintana, as being widespread and systematic, and perpetrated in total impunity. We warmly welcome the resolution of the European Parliament. It sends a signal to the Burmese authorities that the warming relations with the European Union are not a blank check to commit atrocities" said Debbie Stothard, FIDH Vice-President and Altsean-Burma Coordinator.

The European Parliament has called on European institutions, including the EEAS, the European Commission and the high representative, Ms Ashton to raise the issue at the highest level. It has insisted on regular reassessments of the situation, to be based on precise benchmarks and reports, in order to link trade preferences and the development of relations to actual progress.

"Those specific requests are appreciated by FIDH which has consistently pressed European institutions to work together in order to ensure the convergence of all EU policies, including trade and investment, to benefit human rights" said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. "This includes recommendations to conduct thorough and genuine human rights impacts assessments. So we welcome the strong call made to the Commission to assess in an effective and comprehensive manner the human rights impacts of the envisaged bilateral investment agreement by consulting closely with the European Parliament and civil society, ahead of formulating proposals for negotiating directives," he added.

Supporting those calls, FIDH would like also urge the European Union and EU member states to adopt a binding and enforceable framework to ensure that companies that do business in Burma respect international principles of corporate social responsibility, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

Read the resolution of 13 June 2013 on the situation of Rohingya Muslims

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