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Procedure : 2019/2822(RSP)
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Texts tabled :

RC-B9-0050/2019

Debates :

PV 19/09/2019 - 4.2
CRE 19/09/2019 - 4.2

Votes :

PV 19/09/2019 - 7.2

Texts adopted :

P9_TA(2019)0018

Debates
Thursday, 19 September 2019 - Strasbourg Revised edition

4.2. Myanmar, notably the situation of the Rohingya
Video of the speeches
PV
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  Πρόεδρος. – Το επόμενο σημείο στην ημερήσια διάταξη είναι η συζήτηση επί έξι προτάσεων ψηφίσματος σχετικά τη Μιανμάρ/Βιρμανία, ιδίως την κατάσταση των Ροχίνγκια (2019/2822(RSP))

 
  
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  Ryszard Czarnecki, autor. – Panie Przewodniczący! Pani Komisarz! Zabieram głos jako współautor tej ważnej rezolucji, rezolucji, która jest ponad podziałami. Ja niedawno, kilka miesięcy temu, spotkałem się z panią premier Bangladeszu Sheikh Hasiną Wajed. Mówiliśmy o tym, że to biedne, choć wielkie (większe niż Rosja w sensie demograficznym) państwo przyjęło setki tysięcy uchodźców właśnie ludu Rohingja z Mjanmy. Jest to więc problem nie tylko Mjanmy/Birmy, ale także krajów sąsiednich. Myślę, że dzisiejszy nasz głos w tej sprawie jest potrzebny, jest ważny, będzie na pewno słyszany. Jest to zresztą kolejna rezolucja Parlamentu Europejskiego w tej sprawie, ale nie dość nigdy mówić o prawach człowieka i o respektowaniu rzeczy zupełnie fundamentalnych, jak prawo do wyznawania własnej wiary.

 
  
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  Heidi Hautala, author. – Mr President, this is not the first time this House has debated the situation of the Rohingya in Myanmar, has called for a stop to the human tragedy, and urged the world to take action. This is not a crisis that began with the exodus in August 2017: over a million Rohingya refugees have fled violence in Myanmar in successive waves of displacement since the early 1990s. The vast majority of those who have fled and reached Bangladesh are women and children, and more than 40% are under age 12. Many walked for days through the forest to reach safety, including pregnant women, young children, the sick and the elderly.

Too many children are growing up in Kutupalong and Nayapara refugee camps in the Cox’s Bazar district. The refugee settlement has become the largest refugee camp in the world, with more than 600 000 people living in an area of just 13 km2. For many children, those are the only places they have ever known, and they are vulnerable to disease and lack sufficient access to education. This is heart—breaking. The world that is watching owes these children a duty of care.

We all remember that in 2018 the UN independent fact—finding mission concluded that crimes against humanity and possibly genocide had been committed against the Rohingya. In its further report in 2019 the UN fact—finding mission reported severe ongoing sexual and gender—based violence, including systematic rape, gang rape and forced sexual acts by the Myanmar military and security forces against Rohingya women, children and transgender people. Yet, the authorities in Myanmar refused to investigate seriously human rights violations against Rohingya and to hold the perpetrators accountable.

Not only that, Myanmar continues to deny that these rights violations ever occurred in the first place – claims that are contradicted by extensive good-quality evidence and individual witness accounts. The highest-ranking military, who supervised the attacks against the Rohingya population, remain in their posts. Myanmar has so far refused to allow a UN Human Rights Council fact—finding mission to enter the country. Despite the Government of Myanmar having withdrawn cooperation with the UN special rapporteur, the special rapporteur continues to seek to engage and assist with human rights issues.

So it is high time for action.

The Council has prolonged its restrictive measures in place in Myanmar for one year. These measures include asset freezes and travel bans on 14 senior military and other security officials of Myanmar. The decision of the International Criminal Court to open a preliminary investigation into crimes, under the court’s jurisdiction, committed against the Rohingya population is a welcome step towards accountability. Peace does not come without justice. The perpetrators of these most serious crimes must be held accountable.

 
  
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  Neena Gill, author. – Mr President, since hundreds and thousands of Rohingya were forced out of their homes through mass atrocities and repeated acts of humiliation and violence in Myanmar, nearly one million people are still living in camps in Cox’s Bazar, struggling for safety, survival and dignity as refugees in Bangladesh. More than 25 000 children are out of school and 97% of those aged 15 to 18 do not attend any type of educational facility. They need our action and our support now more than ever.

Sadly their plight has fallen down our list of priorities, and, as one of the instigators of this resolution, I urge the EU: we must find a solution and end this crisis. Bangladesh cannot be left alone to cope with large numbers of refugees. We have to engage in dialogue with our partners in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to ensure the Rohingya people’s rights are upheld, so they can start living their lives normally, where women and girls are safe and children have access to education.

 
  
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  Urmas Paet, author. – Mr President, the latest UN fact-finding mission on Myanmar warned that the approximately 600 000 Rohingya who remain in Myanmar live under the threat of genocide. The crimes against humanity and war crimes against ethnic communities by the Myanmar army continue, and the army and the Government enjoy impunity for their crimes.

The Rohingya in Myanmar are being discriminated against and denied their basic rights, and are subjected to arbitrary arrests, lack of freedom of movement and limited health care. The more than 700 000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, who have fled the violence and genocide in Myanmar, are also facing serious problems as the refugee camps are overcrowded, have unsanitary conditions and provide limited access to maternal and health care for women and children. The children lack access to education and there is a rising problem of human and sex trafficking.

EU and other international organisations must work towards gaining access to the conflict areas and places of segregation in Myanmar, in order to deliver aid and to monitor the situation on the ground. We must continue stressing the need for Myanmar to give citizenship and full civil rights to the Rohingya. Investigation of the human rights violations must take place and perpetrators must be held accountable. The EU must seriously consider using the tools it has – by way of extending entry bans, targeted sanctions and freezing of assets – to influence the Myanmar Government and military to stop these atrocities, and should finally review the trade preferences that benefit Myanmar.

 
  
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  Marisa Matias, Autora. – Senhor Presidente, também como autora desta resolução quero sublinhar a importância de o Parlamento Europeu se manifestar em relação ao que tem sido a violação dos direitos humanos do povo rohingya, mas também a violência sexual contra mulheres e crianças.

É uma questão fundamental e, denunciar, é efetivamente importante. Mas a União Europeia tem que fazer mais do que denunciar e, por isso, eu apelo aos colegas que, por favor, reconsiderem novamente o que não consideraram nas negociações desta resolução conjunta, que é levar em conta o relatório da missão internacional e independente que refere e insta a comunidade internacional a pôr termo às relações com as forças militares do Mianmar, mas também com a vasta rede de empresas que estas forças controlam e das quais dependem.

Esta missão internacional considera que as receitas que estas forças militares obtêm, através de acordos comerciais nacionais e estrangeiros, reforçaram, de forma significativa, a sua capacidade de cometer impunemente violações graves dos direitos humanos.

A União Europeia tem relações preferenciais no nível comercial. Os direitos humanos não estão à venda. Por favor, apelo-vos. Incluam isto, porque mais que denunciar é assumir a responsabilidade.

 
  
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  Tomáš Zdechovský, Autor. – Pane předsedající, paní komisařko, dovolte mi vyjádřit jednu věc. V oblasti lidských práv je Evropská unie motorem a je motorem celého světa. Neznám totiž žádnou demokratickou instituci, která by se tak často vyjadřovala k lidským právům a apelovala na vyšetření válečných zločinů, jako je např. Evropský parlament a další evropské instituce. A proč to děláme? Protože nám nejsou lhostejné osudy desítek nebo stovek tisíců lidí, kteří dnes trpí v Myanmaru. Toto není první rezoluce, je to několikátá rezoluce. A já musím říct, že za Evropskou lidovou stranu velmi často vyjednávám podobné lidskoprávní rezoluce, ale málokdy se ty strany tak na všem shodnou, jako bylo v případě této rezoluce, která naprosto jasně apeluje – my chceme vyšetření zločinů, kterých se dopouští myanmarští vojáci na Rohingyích. My chceme opravdu řešit situaci stovek tisíců lidí, kteří dnes jsou bez jakéhokoliv vzdělání, kteří jsou bez jakékoliv pomoci, kteří jsou v otřesných podmínkách někde na ostrovech nebo v částech, které jim vyhradily okolní státy. My chceme, aby se ta situace už nadále nezhoršovala. Chceme otevřený dialog, který se možná myanmarské vládě nebude líbit, ale chceme s ní hovořit o řešení této humanitární krize a o celé situaci, a proto apelujeme na Evropskou komisi, která má ty účinné nástroje v ruce, aby skutečně se situací Rohingyů začala něco dělat. Aby byla tím motorem, který k sobě vezme další státy a zkusí vytvořit něco, co tuto situaci začne po sedmi letech konečně řešit.

 
  
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  David Lega, on behalf of the PPE Group. – Mr President, since 2000 more than 700 000 of the Rohingya people have been forced to abandon their homes in Myanmar to become refugees in Bangladesh, and we know that the armed forces continue to cause widespread terror in the Rohingya community through committing appalling human rights violations. These include killings burnings of villages and systematic gender-based violence. We know that the Myanmar authorities enabled these crimes by continuously turning a blind eye and by refusing to hold those responsible accountable.

By creating telecommunication blackouts in the northern and central parts of Rakhine state, making media coverage and access impossible, and by refusing to collaborate with UN mechanisms. And we also know that approximately 40% of the Rohingya refugees situated in camps in Bangladesh are children, who are now forced to grow up in overcrowded refugee camps, without hope and without a future. I myself did a field trip to Myanmar together with UNICEF two years ago, and without access to formal education the future of Rohingya children is disappearing right before their eyes. The politicians of Myanmar are not protecting the Rohingya people either. Mr President, we all know the saying, ‘all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing’.

Last century Europe suffered the horrible consequences of the Holocaust, when good men did nothing. In the case of the Rohingyas, the politicians of Myanmar need to do more and we need to do more.

 
  
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  Maria Arena, au nom du groupe S&D. – Monsieur le Président, ce lundi, les experts de la mission des Nations unies présentaient un rapport qui confirme que 600 000 Rohingyas vivent sous la menace d’un génocide au Myanmar.

Il y a un an, ces mêmes experts faisaient état d’actes génocidaires à l’égard des Rohingyas. Depuis août 2017, 740 000 Rohingyas ont dû fuir le Myanmar pour le Bangladesh. Les Rohingyas, aujourd’hui, représentent la minorité la plus persécutée au monde et le plus grand groupe apatride.

Mettre en lumière ces injustices, nous en avons beaucoup parlé, est bien entendu important. Mettre en lumière ces crimes est important pour nous, mais ce n’est pas suffisant.

Nous appelons donc à ce que l’Union, mais aussi la communauté internationale, plaide pour que les responsables de ces crimes répondent de leurs actes. Nous appelons à ce que l’Union et la communauté internationale puissent prendre des sanctions, notamment à l’égard des 100 officiers impliqués dans ces crimes et cités dans le rapport des Nations unies. Nous appelons à revoir la relation commerciale avec le Myanmar, à la lumière de ce crime contre l’humanité.

 
  
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  Phil Bennion, on behalf of the Renew Group. – Mr President, the Rohingya are one of the ethnic and religious groups in Myanmar that were not given official status as an ethnic identity, and, as a result, not issued with identity documents. Since 2011, the ethnic conflict with the Rohingya, fuelled by religious and ethnic leaders, has been escalated by the Myanmar military, who are not under the control of the Government.

Allegations of crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing have been raised by the UN Secretary-General, and in 2017 I also brought the issue to the executive of Liberal International through an urgency resolution. The cooperation and support of Bangladesh has been welcomed, but I have felt it necessary this week to complain to the Bangladeshi Ambassador about recent restrictions to rights and freedoms at the camp in Cox’s Bazar.

I believe that the Rohingya should have full rights to citizenship in Myanmar. It has been their home and country for generations. They can’t possibly be asked to state that they are foreigners. The return of the Rohingya refugees and internally displaced persons in a safe and dignified manner, as citizens of Myanmar, the reconstruction of their villages and the restitution of their land are all imperative. I want to see the Myanmar Government fulfil its obligations under international law to protect all individuals on its soil, whatever their race or religion.

 
  
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  Nosheena Mobarik, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, the Rohingya tragedy is becoming another of the many unresolved human rights issues which the UN can add to its list. Bangladesh, clearly struggling with its own challenges, has been left with the fallout of its neighbour’s ghastly actions. The process of proof of identity – cataloguing that of refugees – has resulted in 3 450 people being given approval by the Myanmar authorities to return. At this rate, it would take Bangladesh hundreds of years to get through close to a million displaced people on their doorstep, and those identified would have to be willing to return without a guarantee of their safety and security.

The UN must take meaningful measures to restore the basic human rights and freedoms of the Rohingya, whose ancestors have lived in Rakhine State for close to 1 000 years, and those guilty of crimes against humanity must be brought to justice. I call on this House to stand by our principles and support this resolution.

 
  
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  Julie Ward (S&D). – Mr President, two years on and time stands still for over a million persecuted Rohingya refugees who are unable to return to a land that is their home, after the violence they have faced. The recently failed attempt to repatriate refugees to Myanmar demonstrates the inadequacy of the return conditions. The Myanmar Government must create conditions that can enable safe, dignified and voluntary returns.

According to the International Rescue Committee, there are a million Rohingya refugees surviving purely on humanitarian aid. So I urge the EU and the international community to create a medium—term plan to deal with the impact of this crisis, and to call on Myanmar to address the root causes, including systematic persecution and violence. There must be no military impunity for the grave human rights violations committed against the Rohingya community. There must be sustainable conditions to enable the community to thrive, and not merely to survive, after the suffering they have faced.

Finally, I’d like to pay tribute to my Labour colleagues Afzal Khan and Wajid Khan for all their work on this issue.

 
  
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  Adam Bielan (ECR). – Panie Przewodniczący! Niewątpliwie największą prześladowaną grupą religijną na świecie są chrześcijanie. Prześladowania chrześcijan obejmują już w tej chwili 128 państw. Parlament Europejski dotąd zajmował się – i mam nadzieję, że w tej kadencji jeszcze bardziej intensywnie będzie się zajmował – obroną praw chrześcijan, ale jeżeli chcemy być wiarygodni w obronie praw chrześcijan, musimy zwracać uwagę również na prześladowania innych grup religijnych. Niewątpliwie jedną z najbardziej prześladowanych grup religijno-etnicznych jest lud Rohingja. Prześladowania, które rozpoczęły się kilkadziesiąt lat temu, niestety są również kontynuowane po okresie demokratyzacji Mjanmy. Wszyscy liczyliśmy, że po 2015 roku, kiedy Narodowa Liga na rzecz Demokracji przejęła władzę w Mjanmie, te prześladowania ustaną. Niestety ponad 700 tysięcy osób zostało wypchniętych z Mjanmy do Bangladeszu już od 2017 roku, a 600 tysięcy, które pozostało w Mjanmie, wciąż jest prześladowanych.

Mjanma jest potencjalnie bardzo bogatym krajem ze względu na złoża, bogactwa naturalne. Jest również geostrategicznie niezwykle ważnym krajem, stąd nasilona aktywność takich potęg światowych jak Chiny, Rosja, Stany Zjednoczone i Unia Europejska, ale Mjanma nie wróci na należne jej miejsce w społeczności międzynarodowej, jeżeli nie rozwiąże tego problemu.

 
  
  

PŘEDSEDNICTVÍ: MARCEL KOLAJA
místopředseda

 
  
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  Caterina Chinnici (S&D). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, l'ufficio del procuratore presso la Corte penale internazionale dell'Aja nel luglio scorso ha avviato la procedura per indagare su crimini contro l'umanità proprio con riferimento alla situazione dei rohingya in Myanmar, che rappresenta una fra le peggiori crisi umanitarie nella quale, ancora una volta, i bambini sono i più colpiti.

Secondo l'UNICEF, a luglio 2019, oltre 500 mila bambini rohingya si trovavano rifugiati in Bangladesh in condizioni igienico-sanitarie disastrose, esposti al rischio di violenze, sfruttamento e abusi di ogni genere.

Fin dagli anni '90 molti bambini rohingya nati in Myanmar non hanno ricevuto alcun certificato di nascita, in piena violazione della convenzione ONU sui diritti sul fanciullo, che pure il Myanmar ha firmato. Una negazione dei diritti civili che comporta l'impossibilità di ottenere documenti d'identità, di avere accesso all'assistenza sanitaria e all'istruzione e che crea ostacoli anche nell'accesso allo status di rifugiato, rischiando quindi di creare una generazione di ghost children.

L'Unione europea deve quindi intervenire con fermezza per garantire alla popolazione dei rohingya il pieno rispetto dei diritti fondamentali.

 
  
 

Catch-the-eye procedure

 
  
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  Krzysztof Hetman (PPE). – Panie Przewodniczący! W poniedziałek opublikowany został raport przygotowany przez niezależnych ekspertów ONZ, w którym znalazły się bardzo niepokojące informacje dotyczące sytuacji ludności Rohingja w Mjanmie. Zagrożenie ludobójstwem tej części ludności, która została jeszcze na terenie kraju, wydaje się być większe niż kiedykolwiek. Autorzy raportu konkludują też, że do tej pory rząd Mjanmy nie zrobił nic, by przerwać krąg przemocy.

Dlatego też społeczność międzynarodowa na czele z Unią Europejską, ONZ i organizacjami humanitarnymi musi podjąć wspólne, skoordynowane działania, aby nałożyć silną presję na tych, którzy odpowiadają za zbrodnie i prześladowania. Muszą oni zostać pociągnięci do odpowiedzialności i odpowiedzieć przed wymiarem sprawiedliwości za swoje czyny. Ponadto organizacjom humanitarnym oraz organizacjom obrońców praw człowieka powinno się jak najszybciej zapewnić dostęp do kraju, aby mogły nieść pomoc potrzebującym oraz monitorować sytuację na miejscu.

 
  
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  Stanislav Polčák (PPE). – Pane předsedající, dostáváme se k tématu, které je na našich stolech opakovaně. Bavíme se o vyhánění lidí, jejich ponižování, porušování základních lidských práv a páchání zločinů proti lidskosti. Dnes je ohroženo více než 600 000 lidí jednáním, které se skutečně ocitá na hranici genocidy. Je to bezprecedentní situace a myslím si, že my musíme pomoci za prvé Bangladéši, který na svém území hostí 1 milion lidí, a to ve spolupráci s organizací ASEAN. Samozřejmě musíme žádat okamžitou pomoc pro uprchlíky, vyšetření těchto zločinů a žádat o rychlou akci právě evropské instituce, protože v jednání s Myanmarem musí náš hlas jednoznačně zaznít a zaznít tak, že tyto zločiny proti lidskosti budou vyšetřeny a viníci budou hnáni ke spravedlnosti.

 
  
 

(End of catch-the-eye procedure)

 
  
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  Marianne Thyssen, Member of the Commission. – Mr President, it has been over two years since the horrible events in the Rakhine State of Myanmar forced more than 750 000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh. There are now more than one million Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, making it the largest refugee camp in the world.

This is a major refugee crisis with a significant risk of radicalisation inside the camps. The situation inside the camps is deteriorating. More than 500 000 children remain without access to education. The prospects for a rapid return of the refugees into Myanmar, in a safe, dignified and voluntary manner, are increasingly unlikely. This was shown by the failure of the recent second attempt for the repatriation of 3 450 refugees, since no one agreed to return to Myanmar due to the lack of conditions conducive for returns.

The situation, in addition to being an urgent humanitarian crisis, is evolving into a longer-term political and security challenge. Therefore, we need to intensify discussions on the prospects for refugees, the Cox’s Bazar security situation, the livelihood and education opportunities in the camps, the access to health and justice, the impact on the host communities and, of course, the Joint Response Plan funding.

The European Union will continue to call for sustainable solutions for the Rohingya, and for the Myanmar authorities to ensure that conditions are met for safe, dignified and voluntary returns. This can be achieved only by implementing the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, which the Government of Myanmar has endorsed. These issues were raised with the Myanmar Government at the Human Rights Dialogue held in Yangon in June 2019, co-chaired by the EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Eamon Gilmore.

Within the ongoing Everything But Arms enhanced monitoring, and all relevant bilateral meetings, the European Union is urging Myanmar to contribute to the creation of conditions conducive to the safe, voluntary and dignified return of Rohingya refugees to their place of origin.

At the same time, the European Union will continue advocating for the accountability of those who have committed serious abuses of human rights. The Union has already imposed restrictive measures on 14 individuals and will continue to review regularly the sanctions regime.

In conclusion, the European Union will continue to help alleviate the plight of the Rohingya in Bangladesh and will keep engaging with the Myanmar authorities to facilitate their return.

 
  
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  President. – The debate is closed.

The vote will be held at the end of the debates.

Written statements (Rule 171)

 
  
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  Dominique Bilde (ID), par écrit. – La situation des Rohingyas constitue une crise humanitaire majeure, puisque 740 000 Rohingyas ont fui vers le Bangladesh et quelque 276 000 vivraient dans des camps.

Au-delà de l’émotion que suscite naturellement ce drame, il importe d’aborder cette question sous l’ensemble de ses aspects, sans nier, en particulier, l’influence croissante de l’islam radical sur cette population. Le leader même de l’État islamique n’avait-il pas en 2014 qualifié la région de Rakhine de clef pour le djihad ?

Il est évident que l’Union européenne, qui accorde une aide au développement, une aide humanitaire ainsi que des préférences commerciales au Myanmar, a un certain droit de regard sur les violations des droits de l’homme dans ce pays. Il s’agit non seulement des Rohingyas, mais aussi des chrétiens, qui selon un rapport de la commission sur la liberté religieuse internationale des États-Unis en 2016, subiraient eux aussi un certain nombre de vexations.

En juillet dernier, un pasteur protestant ayant témoigné auprès du président américain Donald Trump aurait par ailleurs fait l’objet de poursuites dans son pays. C’est donc l’ensemble de ces éléments qu’il convient de considérer sans parti pris, et en ayant à cœur le soutien aux victimes.

 
Last updated: 11 November 2019Legal notice