Procedure : 2017/2973(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0671/2017

Texts tabled :

B8-0671/2017

Debates :

PV 12/12/2017 - 11
CRE 12/12/2017 - 11

Votes :

PV 14/12/2017 - 8.6
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P8_TA(2017)0500

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION
PDF 181kWORD 49k
See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0668/2017
6.12.2017
PE614.290v01-00
 
B8-0671/2017

to wind up the debate on the statement by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy

pursuant to Rule 123(2) of the Rules of Procedure


on the situation of the Rohingya people (2017/2973(RSP))


Rolandas Paksas, Isabella Adinolfi, Fabio Massimo Castaldo, Ignazio Corrao on behalf of the EFDD Group

European Parliament resolution on the situation of the Rohingya people (2017/2973(RSP))  
B8-0671/2017

The European Parliament,

–  having regard to its previous resolutions on Myanmar and on the situation of Rohingya Muslims, in particular those of 7 July 2016(1) and 15 December 2016(2), that of 16 March 2017 on EU priorities for the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council sessions in 2017(3), that of 13 June 2017 on statelessness in South and South East Asia(4), and that of 14 September 2017 on Myanmar, in particular the situation of Rohingyas(5),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on the EU strategy with Myanmar/Burma of 20 June 2016,

–  having regard to the joint communication by the Commission and Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) to the European Parliament and the Council entitled ‘Elements for an EU strategy vis-à-vis Myanmar/Burma: A Special Partnership for Democracy, Peace and Prosperity’ (JOIN(2016)0024),

–  having regard to the statement of 2 December 2016 by the spokesperson of the VP/HR on the recent escalation of violence in Myanmar, and to the statement of 6 September 2017 by the VP/HR on the situation in Rakhine State,

–  having regard to the joint press release on the third EU-Myanmar Human Rights Dialogue of 25 November 2016,

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on statelessness of 4 December 2015,

–  having regard to the recent briefings of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar of 29 and 18 November 2016 respectively, on the deteriorating human rights situation in northern Rakhine State,

–  having regard to the report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights entitled ‘Situation of human rights of Rohingya Muslims and other minorities in Myanmar’, of 20 June 2016 and to the report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar of 18 March 2016,

–  having regard to the end-of-mission statement of 20 January 2017 by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, concluding that ‘the situation is now worse than at any point in the past few years’,

–  having regard to the Final Report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State,

–  having regard to the United Nations Security Council Presidential Statement of 6 November calling on Myanmar to end excessive military force and intercommunal violence in Rakhine State in Myanmar,

–  having regard to the 1951 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol thereto,

–  having regard to the UNHCR Global Action Plan to End Statelessness 2014-2024,

–  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) of 1948,

–  having regard to the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966 and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights of 1966,

–  having regard to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Charter,

–  having regard to Rule 123(2) of its Rules of Procedure,

A.  whereas Rakhine State in Myanmar is home to approximately one million Rohingya, a minority group facing repression and continued serious human rights violations, including threats to life and security, denial of the rights to health and education, forced labour, sexual violence and limits to their political rights;

B.  whereas the Rohingya are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, constitute one of its largest groups of stateless persons, and have been officially stateless since the 1982 Burmese Citizenship Law was enacted, which has led to severe restrictions on freedom of movement and has confined them to camps;

C.  whereas to date domestic and international responses to the deterioration in the Rohingya’s human rights and the humanitarian crisis engulfing them have been largely insufficient and many tools to resolve the issue have not yet been explored;

D.  whereas on 25 August 2017, Rohingya militants carried out a series of coordinated attacks on more than 30 police posts and an army base in northern Rakhine State; whereas the attackers killed more than ten policemen and the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) claimed responsibility for these attacks;

E.  whereas this resulted in a significant military counteroffensive, with serious and large-scale human rights violations, including killings, rape and torture; whereas human rights organisations, notably Human Rights Watch, using satellite imagery, have reported large-scale destruction of homes and other buildings in parts of northern Rakhine State currently inaccessible to NGOs and independent observers; whereas a reported 700 buildings were burned in the Rohingya inhabited village of Chein Khar Li in northern Rakhine State, almost destroying it in its entirety;

F.  whereas, following these events, more than 625 000 Rohingya sought refuge in Bangladesh; whereas those fleeing Myanmar, many of whom are women and children, pass through treacherous routes, facing gun fire, dangerous paths, as well as starvation and a lack of medical assistance; whereas dozens of people, including women and children, have died en route; whereas Bangladeshi coast guards have found the bodies of dozens of people who lost their lives while fleeing;

G.  whereas Bangladesh is already hosting approximately 300 000 Rohingya refugees, who have arrived in the country over the past decades;

H.  whereas Bangladesh has lodged a complaint against the Myanmar authorities over landmines being laid across a section of its border with Bangladesh, which would prevent the return of Rohingya Muslims fleeing violence;

I.  whereas international members of staff of the UN and international non-governmental organisations (INGOs) are prohibited from entering the areas affected by the conflict and UN agencies are unable to deliver humanitarian aid, including food, water and medicine to the Rohingya; whereas humanitarian access has been only partially granted to the International Committee of the Red Cross, reaching only 10% of those in need; whereas humanitarian access to Northern Rakhine remains difficult despite the agreement reached with the World Food Programme of 27 October 2017;

J.  whereas given these access constraints, very little information on the population’s current needs is available, and whereas even before the current crisis some 350 000 people depended on humanitarian assistance, in addition to 120 000 internally displaced people in central Rakhine State;

K.  whereas, on 10 September 2017, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Raad Al Hussein announced that the situation in Myanmar ‘seems a textbook example of ethnic cleansing’;

1.  Strongly condemns all attacks in Rakhine State;

2.  Is gravely concerned about the humanitarian situation in Myanmar and Bangladesh and demands that the Myanmar Government put an immediate end to the excessive military force and violence that has devastated the Rohingya community in Rakhine;

3.  Denounces the increasing gravity and scale of human rights violations, including killings, rapes and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians;

4.  Strongly urges the military and security forces to immediately cease the killings, harassment and rape of the Rohingya people, and the burning of their homes;

5.  Recalls that the Myanmar authorities have a duty to protect, without discrimination, all civilians from abuse, and to investigate grievous human rights violations and prosecute those responsible, in accordance with human rights standards and obligations;

6.  Reiterates its call on the authorities of Myanmar to grant immediate and unhindered access to independent monitors, international human rights organisations, journalists and other international observers and the UN, notably the UN Fact-Finding Mission established by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) in March 2017, whose mandate was extended until September 2018;

7.  Reiterates its urgent call for humanitarian rights organisations to be granted access to all conflict areas and displaced people, without discrimination, to permit aid workers to assist people in danger;

8.  Urges the Government of Myanmar to immediately remove all landmines on the border with Bangladesh;

9.  Urges the Government of Myanmar, and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in particular, to condemn unequivocally all incitement to racial or religious hatred and to combat social discrimination and hostilities against the Rohingya minority; urges, furthermore, the Government of Myanmar to uphold the universal right to freedom of religion or belief; reminds the State Counsellor to push for the implementation of the recommendations given in the final report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, which was drawn up at her own request; deplores the lack of progress since the statement of 18 May 2015 by the spokesperson of Ms Suu Kyi’s party that the Government of Myanmar should restore citizenship to the Rohingya minority;

10.  Reminds 1990 Sakharov Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi that the Prize is awarded to those who defend human rights, safeguard the rights of minorities and respect international law, among other criteria; draws attention to the need to consider whether the Sakharov Prize and the Nobel Peace Prize could be revoked in cases where laureates violate those criteria after the prize has been awarded;

11.  Acknowledges the effort by Bangladesh in the face of this humanitarian catastrophe to facilitate protection for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees; strongly encourages the authorities of Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries to admit all those fleeing violence in Rakhine State, and to respect the principle of non-refoulement; calls on the Commission and the Member States to increase financial and material support for the refugees;

12.  Recalls its recommendation that the governments of the countries dealing with the influx of Rohingya refugees cooperate closely with the UNHCR, which has the technical expertise to screen for refugee status and the mandate to protect refugees and stateless people; calls on the EU and UN to support neighbouring countries in this regard;

13.  Welcomes the signing of the bilateral repatriation agreement concluded between Bangladesh and Myanmar on 23 November 2017 in Nay Pyi Taw as an important step; encourages the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, and the State Counsellor of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, to swiftly implement the bilateral repatriation agreement while ensuring conditions on the ground that will allow for a voluntary, safe, sustainable and dignified return of the refugees to their places of origin; confirms that the EU will closely monitor the implementation to ensure the agreement is in full compliance with international law;

14.  Notes the importance of the swift implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, the so-called ‘Annan recommendations’; stresses the recommendation of the Commission on the need to align the citizenship law of Myanmar with international standards and treaties to which Myanmar is a state party, including Articles 7 and 8 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and on the need to bring the legislation into line with best practices, including the abolition of distinctions between different types of citizens;

15.  Supports efforts to intensify a political process based on implementing the Annan recommendations; calls on the United Nations Security Council and the General Assembly to adopt effective diplomatic and political measures to ensure compliance by the Government of Myanmar with its obligations vis-à-vis the Rohingya minority in terms of ensuring protection and access to aid; calls, in this regard, for a resolution of the UN General Assembly and Security Council condemning abuses, insisting on access to Rakhine State and demanding accountability for serious violations of international law by all parties;

16.  Urges China and other international and regional actors to use all channels to demand an end to the atrocities and bring about a peaceful resolution;

17.  Calls on the VP/HR and the EU Member States to significantly increase their pressure on the Myanmar Government and security forces to halt rights abuses, to fully cooperate with UN investigators and international humanitarian agencies, and to ensure accountability for grave violations of international law; calls, in this regard, for the VP/HR and EU Member States to take an active role in supporting immediate action at UN level and making clear that the EU stands ready to consider targeted punitive sanctions against individuals and entities, and to consider consequences in the context of the trade preferences Myanmar enjoys, should grave violations in international law continue with impunity;

18.  Approves of continued financial aid from the EU to the area concerned in the form of humanitarian aid and other support; insists that all aid to Rakhine State is explicitly and specifically conditioned on non-discrimination, non-segregation and equality and that all projects and assistance are implemented in a way that does not entrench, support or perpetuate discrimination and segregation;

19.  Calls on the VP/HR to report back to the European Parliament on EU initiatives at the UN and in the context of the EU Foreign Affairs Council;

20.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to welcome reporting and statements from representatives of the Rohingya on the situation on the ground;

21.  Supports efforts to have independent and UN-led monitors on the ground to alleviate the humanitarian crisis; calls on the Myanmar authorities to grant immediate and unhindered access to independent monitors, notably the UN Fact-Finding Mission established by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2017;

22.  Supports the establishment of an office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Myanmar with a full mandate;

23.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to support the UNHCR Global Action Plan to End Statelessness 2014-2024;

24.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of Myanmar, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the EU Member States, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees and the UN Human Rights Council.

(1)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0316.

(2)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0506.

(3)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0089.

(4)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0247.

(5)

Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0351.

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