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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on the plight of Rohingya refugees, including mass graves in Thailand

19.5.2015 - (2015/2711(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 135 of the Rules of Procedure

Cristian Dan Preda, Jeroen Lenaers, David McAllister, Claude Rolin, Bogdan Brunon Wenta, Jiří Pospíšil, Marijana Petir, Davor Ivo Stier, Therese Comodini Cachia, Andrej Plenković, Csaba Sógor, Giovanni La Via, Tomáš Zdechovský, Jarosław Wałęsa, Eduard Kukan, József Nagy, Ivan Štefanec, Tunne Kelam, Monica Macovei, Pavel Svoboda, Dubravka Šuica, Michaela Šojdrová, Brian Hayes, Roberta Metsola, Ramona Nicole Mănescu, Tadeusz Zwiefka, Elisabetta Gardini on behalf of the PPE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0469/2015

Förfarande : 2015/2711(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on the plight of Rohingya refugees, including mass graves in Thailand


The European Parliament,

-    having regard to its previous resolutions on Myanmar/Burma and Thailand,

-   having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 10 December 1948,

-  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 1966,

-    having regard to Rule 135 of its Rules of Procedure,

A. whereas on 1 May 2015, a joint military-police taskforce discovered at least 30 bodies at an abandoned human trafficking camp in the Sadao district of Songkhla province close to the Thai-Malaysian border; whereas police reports indicate that the victims are ethnic Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar/Burma and Bangladesh who starved to death or died of disease while held by traffickers who were awaiting payment of ransoms before smuggling them into Malaysia;

B.  whereas this is the first time that graves of a large number of people have been identified; whereas in the last year the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has learnt from hundreds of Rohingya survivors about horrific abuse and deprivation by traffickers on boats in the Bay of Bengal and in camps along the Thai-Malaysian border;

C. whereas in Thailand, more than 230 victims have surrendered to the police recently after they escaped or were abandoned in camps; whereas there have been law enforcement raids on camps; whereas since 2013, the authorities of Thailand have detained some 3000 Rohingya in Immigration Detention Centres, police stations or social welfare facilities, after they were arrested trying to cross Thailand and enter Malaysia;

D. whereas human rights organizations and investigative journalists have reported on human trafficking networks that operate with support and protection from corrupt officials in southern Thailand; whereas the United States State Department has downgraded Thailand to a Tier 3 ranking - countries whose governments do not fully comply with the minimum standards and are not making significant efforts to do so - in its 2014 Trafficking in Persons Report;

D. whereas UNHCR periodic report released on 8 May 2015 estimates that some 25000 Rohingya and Bangladeshis boarded boats between January and March this year; whereas this is almost double the number of people over the same period in 2014;

E.  whereas in Rakhine State the UNHCR has long advocated for and stands ready to support concerted efforts to stabilize the situation through the realization of rights for all, reconciliation, socio-economic equality and addressing issues related to citizenship;

F.  whereas in Myanmar/Burma, the Rohingya have very limited access to basic services and viable livelihood opportunities;

G. whereas from 2010 to 2015, the European Commission's Humanitarian aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) provided some € 57.3 million in humanitarian aid to vulnerable people in Rakhine State; whereas in 2015, ECHO is funding projects throughout Rakhine State to address some of the most urgent needs among the Rohingya in the northern townships, including food and nutrition, basic health services and supply of other basic household items, and to support the population displaced since 2012;

H. whereas ECHO has allocated € 325000 to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) since 2013, to provide food, basic household items, health care and protection to some 3 000 Rohingya men, women and children detained in Thailand;

I.   whereas in Thailand UNHCR assists Rohingya rescued in law enforcement raids from camps by providing immediate relief such as clothes, blankets and hygiene kits; whereas UNHCR staff also conduct interviews, help reunite families who were split during the journey, provide counseling support and identify possibilities of resettlement to third countries for the most vulnerable people;

1.  Is shocked by the death of the Rohingya refugees in Thailand; extends its condolences to the families of the victims;

2.  Welcomes the investigation of the Thai police into the deaths in the human trafficking camp in the Sadao district of Songkhla province; calls on the Thai authorities to bring those responsible to justice as soon as possible;

3.  Calls on the Government of Thailand to make significant efforts to end human trafficking, and to provide safety and protection for Rohingya refugees;

4.  Calls on the governments of states in the region to work more closely together to counter the trafficking of vulnerable people;

5.  Encourages the governments of states in the region to participate in the upcoming regional meeting of 29 May 2015 in Bangkok on the migrant situation;

6.  Stresses that the situation of the Rohingya in Myanmar/Burma is a human rights issue with serious humanitarian consequences; underlines that it is crucial that both the Government of Myanmar/Burma and the Government of Rakhine State address the basic needs of the Rohingya while promoting durable solutions, in line with international standards and stimulate State-wide development for all;

7.  Believes that inter-communal dialogue and conflict resolution must be prioritised in Rakhine State, where tensions between the communities are widespread and continued community segregation must be addressed;

8.  Underlines that the legal status and the discrimination that the Rohingya face must be addressed; calls on the Government of Myanmar/Burma to take all necessary measures to end persecution and discrimination of the Rohingya; calls on the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to address this issue at the highest possible political level in her contacts with Myanmar/Burma;

9.  Welcomes the aid of ECHO and UNHCR to the Rohingya in Myanmar/Burma and Thailand; stresses that in order to deliver vital assistance to the Rohingya, the security of aid workers and appropriate access to the beneficiaries must be ensured;

10. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the Council, the Commission, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, the Government and Parliament of the Myanmar/Burma, the Government of Thailand and the governments and parliaments of other states in the region.