The Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) has welcomed British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s visit to Bangladesh and Burma on 11 February to press for international action on the Rohingya crisis. The visit was a stark reminder for the international community of the violence and atrocities taking place against the Rohingya people of Burma.
Commenting on the visit, Kyaw Win, Executive Director of BHRN said: “This was an important visit by the UK’s Foreign Secretary. I welcomed Boris Johnson’s robust comments against the Burma military and civilian government during his visit. Johnson’s visit is timely as the UK and other Member States of the European Union deliberate their collective policy response to the crisis. Top of the agenda must be the need for smart and targeted sanctions by the EU against the military and its economic interests. It is only this form of assertive action that will force the Burmese authorities to halt its brutal policy against the Rohingya and other religious and ethnic minorities across Burma.”
According to recent reports by Reuters and AP, Burmese security forces have carried out preplanned attacks and exercised scorch earth policy to ensure Rohingya people could never return and inhabit the same place again. In this regard Kyaw Win said “what we are seeing in the Rakhine state against the Rohingya is genocide. It is inconceivable for the Rohingya to return to death and destruction, and any international efforts that would welcome the recent repatriation deal struck between Bangladesh and the Burma without the consultation of refugees would represent a flawed approach. Until there are assurances of a safe and secure environment under the auspices of UNHCR, backed by international guarantees, Rohingya refugees must not be forcibly repatriated. We look to the UK to ensure it secures a robust collective EU position in support of Rohingya refugees.” “In parallel many Rohingya and Burmese civil society organisations continue to call for free and unfettered access for the UN Fact-Finding Mission to assess the full horrors of what is happening in the Rakhine. This access must be extended to the UN Special Rapporteur on Myanmar, Ms Yanghee Lee.” Kyaw Win concluded by drawing attention to the EU Foreign Affairs Council discussion on 26 February, which he said “was a critical opportunity for our European partners to illustrate leadership with the crisis, and set out a comprehensive approach that addresses the underlying issues around rights, access to education, citizenship and economic opportunity. The root cause of the Rohingya crisis runs deep in Burma. The anti-Muslim persecution policy of the state must be abolished, and basic human rights for all minorities in Burma must be restored.”
Background for Editors:
Burmese military unleashed a devastating campaign against the ethnic Rohingya civilian population in Rakhine State. This campaign has been described by witnesses, victims and investigating bodies as hallmarked by gang rapes, mass murder of civilians, widespread destruction of property and displacement and forced exile. Nearly 700,000 Rohingya fled Burma and settled in and around refugee camps as many still fleeing due to shortages of food and continued persecution by authorities and vigilante mobs. Burma has severely restricted access to the area, including to a UN mandated Fact Finding MIssion assigned to investigation allegations of human rights violations. At the same time, Bangladesh and Burma have been discussing the repatriation of the Rohingya, yet all plans to do so have appeared to involve force or coercion to return a population that is deeply traumatized and rightfully afraid to return without any plan or assurances for their safety or fundamental human rights.
Background on the Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) is based in London, operates across Burma/Myanmar and works for human rights, minority rights and religious freedom in Burma. BHRN has played a crucial role in advocating for human rights and religious freedom with politicians and world leaders.
Executive Director of the Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
T: +44 (0) 740 345 2378
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