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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the situation in Burma, particularly the continuing violence in Rakhine State

20.11.2012 - (2012/2878(RSP))

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure

José Ignacio Salafranca Sánchez-Neyra, Cristian Dan Preda, Bernd Posselt, Filip Kaczmarek, Roberta Angelilli, Mario Mauro, Tunne Kelam, Eija-Riitta Korhola, Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris, Zuzana Roithová, Monica Luisa Macovei, Sari Essayah, Giovanni La Via, Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Csaba Sógor, Elena Băsescu, Philippe Boulland, Ivo Belet on behalf of the PPE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0503/2012

Procedură : 2012/2878(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the situation in Burma, particularly the continuing violence in Rakhine State


The European Parliament,

-          having regard to its previous resolutions on Burma, and in particular that of 20 April 2012 and that of 13 September 2012,


-          having regard to the Council conclusions of 23 April 2012 on Burma,


-          having regard to the statements of 13 June 2012 and 26 October 2012 by the spokesperson of the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the crisis in northern Rakhine State and on the renewed violence in Rakhine State,


-          having regard to the statement of 9 August by the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response on humanitarian access to Rohingya and other affected communities,


-          having regard to the statement of 17 August 2012 by the ASEAN foreign ministers on the recent developments in Rakhine State,


-          having regard to the report of 24 August 2012 by the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar,


-          having regard to the statement of 25 October 2012 by the spokesperson of the UN Secretary-General on the vigilante attacks in Northern Rakine,


-          having regard to Rule 122 of its Rules of Procedure,


A.       whereas the Government of Burma declared a state of emergency in Rakhine State on 10 June 2012, following an outbreak of inter-communal violence between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims;


B.        whereas there was another outbreak of inter-communal violence in Rakhine State in October; whereas as a consequence of this recent wave of violence at least 89 people have been killed and over 35000 displaced, and more than 5300 houses and religious buildings have been destroyed;

C.       whereas over 110000 people are displaced and urgent needs remain as far as food, health, shelter, water sanitation and hygiene are concerned;

D.       whereas the President of the European Commission has stated on 3 November, during his visit to Burma, that "violence needs to stop and that urgent humanitarian needs have to be addressed" and that "the EU stands ready to mobilise € 4 million for immediate humanitarian needs, provided access to the affected areas is guaranteed";


E.        whereas on 16 November the Commission increased its funding for victims of the recent violence in Rakhine State by € 1 million bringing the total Commission's humanitarian funding in 2012 for helping the people of Rakhine State to € 8 million;


F.        whereas on 31 October three UN experts on Burma, minority issues and internally displaced persons expressed their deep concern over continuing inter-communal violence in Rakhine State and called on the Government to urgently address the underlying causes of the tension and conflict between the Buddhist and Muslim communities in the region;


G.       whereas on 16 November the UN Secretary-General has received a letter from President U Thin Sein concerning the violence in Rakhine State, in which he condemned the "criminal acts" of elements inside his country that caused the "senseless violence" and on the same day the President had a meeting with senior members of the state's Buddhist and Muslim communities, including members of the clergy; whereas the UN Secretary-General has welcomed both President U Thin Sein's letter as well as his recent meeting as steps in the right direction;


H.       whereas on 17 August 2012 the Burmese government appointed an independent Investigation Commission, consisting of 27 representatives of civil society and political and religious organisations, to inquire into the causes of the outbreak of sectarian violence and make suggestions;


1.        Is alarmed at the continuing ethnic violence in western Burma, which has caused large numbers of deaths and injuries, destruction of property and displacement of local populations, and expresses its concern that these inter-communal clashes may put at risk the transition to democracy in Burma; calls on all parties to exercise restraint;


2.        Notes the government's assertions that it would take action against the instigators of the violence; calls on the government of Burma to bring the perpetrators of the violent clashes and other related abuses in Rakhine State to justice;


3.        Reiterates its call on the government of Burma, as a matter of urgency, to allow the UN agencies and humanitarian NGOs, as well as journalists and diplomats, unhindered access to all areas of Rakhine State, guarantee unrestricted access to humanitarian aid for all affected populations, and ensure that displaced Rohingya enjoy freedom of movement and are permitted to return to their place of residence once it is safe for them to do so; stresses that adequate safety and security are necessary for humanitarian partners to reach vulnerable people who are in urgent need of assistance;

4.        Calls on all parties concerned to find durable ways to solve the issues between the communities; reiterates its call on the political forces in Burma to take a clear stand in favour of a pluralist society;

5.        Reiterates its call on the government to amend the 1982 citizenship law so as to bring it into line with international human rights standards and its obligations under Article 7 of the UN Convention of the Rights of the Child, with a view to granting citizens' rights to the Rohingya and other stateless minorities, as well as ensuring equal treatment for all Burmese citizens, thus ending discriminatory practices;

6.        Welcomes the increase of the Commission's humanitarian funding in 2012 for helping the people of Rakhine State by € 1 million bringing the total amount to € 8 million; notes that the Rakhine Response Plan launched in July called for $ 32.5 million this year and that nearly $ 24 million has been disbursed or pledged against the plan;


7.        Welcomes the Council conclusions on Burma of 23 April 2012, which include the suspension of restrictive measures imposed on the Government, with the exception of the arms embargo, and the EU's wish to enter into an active collaboration with Burma as a whole, with a view to assisting the reform process and contributing to economic, political and social development; welcomes in this respect the recent visit of the President of the European Commission to Burma;


8.        Welcomes the release of 514 prisoners, out of which 90 are political prisoners, on 17 September and the release of 66 prisoners, including at least 44 political prisoners, on 19 November in an amnesty that coincided with the visit of President Barack Obama of the United States to Burma; calls on the Burmese government to release all remaining prisoners of conscience, to clarify exactly how many remain in detention and take steps to ensure the reintegration of released prisoners into society;

9.        Encourages the Burmese government to continue implementing its democratic reforms, to establish the rule of law, and to ensure respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular freedom of expression and assembly (including on the internet);


10.      Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission/the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the Governments and Parliaments of the Member States, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Secretary-General of ASEAN and the Government and Parliament of Burma.