Procedure : 2017/2973(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0668/2017

Texts tabled :


Debates :

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

Votes :

PV 14/12/2017 - 8.6
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :


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See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B8-0668/2017

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))

Ryszard Czarnecki, Charles Tannock, Jadwiga Wiśniewska on behalf of the ECR Group

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

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), and to its resolutions of 16 March 2017 on EU priorities for the UN Human Rights Council sessions in 2017(3) and of 13 June 2017 on statelessness in South and South East Asia(4),

–  having regard to the Council conclusions on Myanmar of 16 October 2017, and on the EU strategy with Myanmar/Burma of 20 June 2016,

–  having regard to the statement of 6 September 2017 by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) Federica Mogherini on the situation in Rakhine state,

–  having regard to the statement of the United Nations Special Rapporteur, Yanghee Lee, on 14 March 2017 on the violence in Rakhine state,

–  having regard to the outcome of the pledging conference of 23 October 2017 in Geneva, co-hosted by the European Union and Government of Kuwait, co-organised by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM),

–  having regard to the Annual Report of the UN Secretary-General of 15 April 2017 on conflict-related sexual violence,

–  having regard to the UN Declaration of 25 November 1981 on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief,

–  having regard to the UN Declaration of 18 December 1992 on the Rights of Persons Belonging to National or Ethnic, Religious and Linguistic Minorities,

–  having regard to the power-sharing agreement between the military and the civilian government in Myanmar, under which the incumbents of 25 % of the parliamentary seats are appointed by military authorities, and home, border affairs and defence forces answer to the military authorities,

–  having regard to the rescinding of the Emergency Provisions Act in Burmese law, under which military authorities were permitted to detain persons of interest without charge,

–  having regard to the statement of 22 November 2017 by the US Secretary of State on the situation in Rakhine state and, in particular, calling for an international investigation into those responsible for crimes against humanity,

–  having regard to the statement on 22 November 2017 by the United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, that the sexual attacks against the Rohingya may constitute war crimes,

–  having regard to the agreement signed by Myanmar and Bangladesh on 23 November 2017 potentially repatriating hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees to Rakhine state,

–  having regard to the United Nations Convention of 18 December 1979 on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW),

–  having regard to the United Nations Declaration of Commitment to End Sexual Violence in Conflict of June 13 2014,

–  having regard to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights of 16 December 1966,

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

–  having regard to the Convention of 18 September 1997 on the Prohibition of the Use, Stockpiling, Production and Transfer of Anti-Personnel Mines and on their Destruction,

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

A.  whereas the situation of the Rohingya people has dramatically deteriorated since the outbreak of violence between Rohingya fighters and Burmese security forces on 25 August 2017, with allegations of widespread killings, the burning of Rohingya villages, looting, mass rapes, torture and targeted violence against the Rohingya people in Rakhine state, Myanmar, including the confinement of many Rohingya to displacement camps;

B.  whereas these allegations, which may be considered crimes against humanity under international law, have been corroborated by accounts from numerous international human rights organisations (Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International inter alia), as well as by reports from the United Nations Security Council and the United States government that targeted, state-sponsored persecution of the Rohingya people is taking place, with the actions allegedly being committed by the Myanmar security forces;

C.  whereas the Government of Myanmar and the Myanmar military and security forces have repeatedly denied attacking Rohingya civilians and settlements, attributing incidences of violence to its campaign against a Rohingya terrorist insurgency or to infighting between Rohingya militants;

D.  whereas the current estimate of the number of Rohingya refugees fleeing Rakhine state, the hub of the Rohingya population in Myanmar, is thought to be over 623 000 of an estimated total Rohingya population of one million in all of Myanmar, the majority of whom have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh;

E.  whereas the total number of refugees who have fled to Bangladesh is believed to include an unconfirmed number of Myanmar Hindu refugees, who claim to have been mistakenly targeted by Rakhine Buddhists as a result of ethnic similarities to the Rohingya people;

F.  whereas the violence against the Rohingya people bears every hallmark of state-sanctioned, systematic ethnic cleansing, including the murder of men, women and children, mass rapes of Rohingya women by the Burmese security forces, beatings and torture of male and female Rohingya of all ages, the total destruction of Rohingya property, and the use of misinformation, including staged photographs by the Myanmar media, to attribute blame for this violence to Rohingya Muslims acting against their own people;

G.  whereas the United Nations and Human Rights Watch have warned that the persecution of the Rohingya amounts to ethnic cleansing, and that, if left unchecked, there is a serious risk that it will escalate into genocide;

H.  whereas Human Rights Watch notes that in the case of mass rapes targeting the Rohingya, social stigma and fear of further government persecution mean that the reported number of rapes may be as little as one-third of the actual number taking place;

I.  whereas the ethnically motivated violence against the Rohingya bears a sexual dimension that is a hallmark of historic incidences of ethnic cleansing and genocide;

J.  whereas foreign investigative journalists are under heavy state supervision while active in Myanmar, particularly in areas where Muslim populations continue to exist, and face strict curfews, minimal, prior-approved access to the local population and, as a result, are hampered in their ability to report on events surrounding the Rohingya people in a fair and impartial manner;

K.  whereas the pledging conference held in Geneva between the UNHCR, OCHA, IOM, the European Union and the Government of Kuwait secured 36 individual pledges for aid to Bangladesh and Myanmar totalling USD 344 million, including money pledged and committed since the outbreak of violence on 25 August as well as new commitments, with several private donors committing additional assistance of a value of over USD 50 million;

L.  whereas the repatriation agreement of 23 November 2017 between Myanmar and Bangladesh places no restrictions on the number of Rohingya allowed to voluntarily return to Rakhine state with the exception of refugees who have been involved in terrorism, in contradiction of previous statements made by the Myanmar military spokesperson;

M.  whereas the terms of this agreement will permit the repatriation of Rohingya verified for return by the Myanmar government, and that those who return will be required to hold identity cards based on evidence of past residence in Myanmar; whereas the former homes and villages of many Rohingya have been destroyed as a result of the conflict; whereas Rohingya men, women and children have been stripped of their citizenship rights since 1982 and, as a result, the overwhelming majority are paperless;

N.  whereas it is unclear how many potential Rohingya repatriates will be housed in camps and temporary holding areas, but given that a significant number of Rohingya villages in Rakhine state have been destroyed by the conflict, the potential for many returning refugees to end up living in inadequate conditions with no clear timeline for a return to safe housing is enormous;

1.  Condemns in the strongest terms the increase in violence in Rakhine state, particularly where Myanmar security forces have been involved in grievous human rights violations, including mass rapes, targeted killings and the destruction of civilian property inter alia, and calls for the immediate cessation of violence, whether on the part of Burmese security forces or Rohingya militants, in Rakhine state;

2.  Recalls the duty of the Myanmar Government to collaborate with the international community in protecting all civilians from abuse without discrimination and to investigate and put an end to human rights violations committed within Myanmar, in accordance with human rights standards and obligations;

3.  Reiterates its call for the Myanmar authorities to grant immediate, unhindered and unequivocal access to independent monitors, international human rights organisations, journalists and other international observers, including, in particular, the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission established by the UNHRC in March 2017, with the aim of conducting independent and impartial investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations by both Myanmar security forces and Rohingya militants;

4.  Repeats, furthermore, its call for humanitarian aid organisations to be allowed access to all conflict areas, both within Rakhine state and the surrounding regions, and to displaced people, without discrimination, to provide aid to people in danger;

5.  Recalls that violence against a civilian population, particularly where the destruction of civilian property, the murder of civilians and mass rape are involved, is historically proven to foster the resentment and unrest that ultimately feeds terrorist groups such as those condemned by the Myanmar military;

6.  Acknowledges that the plight of the Rohingya can be no longer treated as simply an issue of providing more and better humanitarian aid in refugee camps, and that their stateless status has compounded an already severe humanitarian emergency; encourages the international community to continue applying diplomatic pressure on the Government of Myanmar to ensure the dignity and safety of Rohingya people, to end and prevent further acts of violence against them, and to allow for their safe return to Rakhine province;

7.  Considers the repatriation agreement of 23 November 2017 between the Governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar to be a positive development and expresses the hope that it will lead to the reintegration of every Rohingya person who has returned to Rakhine state in Myanmar with full citizenship rights;

8.  Supports the claims by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad that recent attacks and discrimination against the Rohingya population in Myanmar amount to ethnic cleansing;

9.  Welcomes the increased support from the European Union and its Member States to aid efforts in Bangladesh and Myanmar in response to the Rohingya crisis; welcomes, moreover, the commitments made by the international community in the pledging conference held in Geneva on 23 October 2017 in response to the crisis;

10.  Urges the European Union to lead international efforts by means of an Intergovernmental Summit; proposes that this Summit review progress on the Rohingya repatriation process, the restoration of citizenship rights, that it initiate the procedure for an independent investigation of crimes against humanity, coordinate future investments in both Bangladesh and Myanmar that will help rebuild the entire region, not just the lives of the Rohingya in refugee camps and that it promote and encourage reforms with an emphasis on the rule of law, good democratic practices and an independent and impartial judiciary;

11.  Calls on the Vice‑President of the Commission / High Representative to work with Member States to facilitate a high‑level inter-governmental conference in order to provide longer‑term solutions in support of the Rohingya people, including in areas such as infrastructure and community redevelopment, citizenship rights, access to healthcare and education, and to clean sanitation and water supplies;

12.  Calls for the swift, continued and unfettered delivery of humanitarian aid to those most in need, working in conjunction with international aid agencies and the United Nations;

13.  Encourages international support to broker a political dialogue between the Government of Myanmar and leaders of the Rohingya community, in line with the conclusions of the UN Human Rights Council resolution of March 2017;

14.  Insists on the adoption in full of the recommendations of the final report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State of August 2017 in order to prevent further violence, and to maintain peace and foster reconciliation;

15.  Insists that the Government of Myanmar continue its cooperation with the United Nations, including with UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee, and the Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar;

16.  Urges a reinvigoration of the Myanmar-EU Human Rights Dialogue to specifically discuss issues relating to the Rohingya community;

17.  Calls on the Government of Myanmar to immediately remove all landmines on the border with Bangladesh and to fully cooperate with the UN and international observers during this process; underlines the need for the international community to offer technical and financial assistance, if deemed necessary, so that this task can be carried out in a timely and effective manner;

18.  Acknowledges and applauds the efforts made by the Government and people of Bangladesh, in the wake of this humanitarian catastrophe, to provide protection to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees, and strongly encourages the Bangladeshi authorities and those of other neighbouring countries to respect the principle of non-refoulement;

19.  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 the Government of Myanmar, furthermore, 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 ongoing dramatic deterioration of the situation since the statement of 18 May 2015 by the spokesperson of Ms Suu Kyi’s party that the Government of Myanmar should grant citizenship to the Rohingya minority;

20.  Supports efforts to intensify a political process based on implementing the Annan recommendations; calls on the UN Security Council and General Assembly to adopt effective diplomatic and political measures to ensure compliance by the Government of Myanmar with its obligations in respect of the Rohingya minority, specifically by providing protection from abuses and unhindered access to aid;

21.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of Myanmar, the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, 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.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0316.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0506.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0089.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0247.

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