Burma Campaign UK today condemned the European Union response to ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya as absolutely pathetic and effectively giving a green light for abuses to continue.
The only practical measure agreed by EU Foreign Ministers meeting today was suspending invitations to senior military officers to visit the EU.
“Only to suspend invitations to some Burmese military officers to visit Europe is an absolutely pathetic response to ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “This weak response will be interpreted by the head of the military, Min Aung Hlaing as a green light to continue abuses.”
Burma Campaign UK and other human rights organisations had been calling for several measures in addition to a visa ban, including banning sales of all equipment to the military, ending all training and co-operation (the EU is only reviewing co-operation), supporting a global arms embargo against Burma, banning investment and business with military owned companies, and reinstating the UN General Assembly Resolution on Burma. We called for these measures to be enacted in conjunction with a concerted diplomatic effort to pressure the military and government to end repression of the Rohingya.
The United Nations has described what is happening to the Rohingya as a ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing’ but the EU statement on its conclusions on Burma backed off using this term, instead only stating: ‘When so many people are displaced so quickly this strongly indicates a deliberate action to expel a minority’.
“Since 2012 when renewed large scale violence against the Rohingya began, the EU has consistently failed to stand up for the rights of the Rohingya, and now they have let down the Rohingya yet again,” said Mark Farmaner. “EU Foreign Ministers might as well have stayed in bed, for all the difference they have made to the situation. Min Aung Hlaing will be celebrating this EU decision. He is literally getting away with murder. EU Foreign Ministers just said ‘Yes on our watch’ to ethnic cleansing.”