Procedure : 2017/2973(RSP)
Document stages in plenary
Document selected : B8-0669/2017

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))

Urmas Paet, Petras Auštrevičius, Izaskun Bilbao Barandica, Gérard Deprez, Ilhan Kyuchyuk, Patricia Lalonde, Frédérique Ries, Marietje Schaake, Jasenko Selimovic, Pavel Telička, Ivo Vajgl, Johannes Cornelis van Baalen, Hilde Vautmans, Cecilia Wikström on behalf of the ALDE 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), 15 December 2016(2) and 14 September 2017(3), and to its resolutions of 16 March 2017 on EU priorities for the UN Human Rights Council sessions in 2017(4) and of 13 June 2017 on statelessness in South and South East Asia(5),

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

–  having regard to the joint communication of 1 June 2016 from the Commission and the 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 30 March 2016 by the VP/HR on the entry into office of the new Government of the Union of Myanmar,

–  having regard to the Memorandum of Understanding between Myanmar and Bangladesh on the repatriation of Rohingya people from Bangladesh to Myanmar, signed on 23 November 2017,

–  having regard to the statement by the VP/HR of 23 November 2017 on the Memorandum of Understanding between Myanmar and Bangladesh,

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

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

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

–  having regard to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Global 2014-24 Action Plan to End Statelessness of November 2014,

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

–  having regard to the final report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State of 24 August 2017 entitled ‘Towards a peaceful, fair and prosperous future for the people of Rakhine’,

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

–  having regard to the Charter of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN),

–  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 predominantly Muslim minority group facing repression and continued serious human rights violations, including threats to life and security, killings, denial of the right to health and education, forced labour, sexual violence and limitations on political rights;

B.  whereas the Rohingya people have been officially stateless since the enactment of the 1982 Burmese Citizenship Law, which has led to severe restrictions on freedom of movement and has confined the Rohingya to camps;

C.  whereas the Rohingya are trapped in a vicious system of state-sponsored, institutionalised discrimination that amounts to apartheid that is turning into ethnic cleansing; whereas separate legislation applies to Rohingya, which creates barriers to the activities of daily life, such as work, marriage, travel and access to healthcare;

D.  whereas the Governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MoU) in Nay Pyi Taw; whereas this MoU should guarantee the safe return of the Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh over the last few years; whereas it has been indicated that the Rohingya will not be repatriated back to their villages, but to refugee/prison camps in Myanmar;

E.  whereas the risk of radicalisation previously underlined in the final report of 24 August 2017 of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, chaired by Kofi Annan, is present among northern Rakhine’s local and internally displaced communities, as well as among refugee communities in Bangladesh;

F.  whereas the murder, rape and burning down of Rohingya villages is used as a tool to permanently damage the social structure of the Rohingya and to traumatise the population; whereas the goal of these horrific acts is to force the Rohingya out of their villages and the country, and to create mental and physical barriers to their return; whereas the border between Myanmar and Bangladesh has been militarised and mines have been introduced to prevent people from crossing it;

G.  whereas Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have highlighted the fact that since 25 August 2017, Burmese security forces have committed widespread and systematic rape against women and girls as part of a campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State; whereas the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) called on the Government of Myanmar to provide, by 28 May 2018, information on a range of issues surrounding alleged instances of violence against women and girls in northern Rakhine State in recent months;

H.  whereas the VP/HR has called the signing of the repatriation MoU an important and welcome step towards addressing one of the worst humanitarian and human rights crises of our time;

I.  whereas Myanmar currently enjoys GSP trade preferences under the Everything but Arms scheme and the country’s exports to the EU reached EUR 830 million in 2016; whereas the current crackdown on the Rohingya can be considered a ‘serious and systematic’ violation of Myanmar’s obligations under at least one of the fundamental human rights and labour rights conventions of the GSP Regulation (No 978/2012);

1.  Urges the military and security forces to put an immediate end to the killing, harassment and rape of the Rohingya people, and to the burning of their homes;

2.  Calls on the Government of Myanmar to initiate prompt, impartial, independent and effective investigations into all credible allegations of violations of international human rights law and crimes under international law; insists that where sufficient, admissible evidence is found of individuals committing offences involving violations of international human rights law, such individuals must be prosecuted in fair proceedings before independent civilian courts and without the imposition of the death penalty;

3.  Urges the Government of Myanmar to respect the freedom of movement of the Rohingya and to guarantee their safety wherever they may be; calls on the Government of Myanmar to immediately remove all mines on the border with Bangladesh; urges the Government of Myanmar to immediately lift the travel restrictions on humanitarian organisations;

4.  Echoes, furthermore, the calls in the Council conclusions for the building of effective democratic institutions and a strong civil society, and for the need to uphold basic rights and freedoms and promote good governance;

5.  Insists on the direct implementation of the MoU, and for the right of the Rohingya to voluntary, safe and dignified return to their places of origin, without discrimination of any kind, to be fully respected; calls for the Government of Myanmar to guarantee safe and humane living conditions for the Rohingya at all times;

6.  Urges the Government of Myanmar to address the long-standing and systematic discrimination and segregation of the Rohingya and other Muslims in Rakhine State and to ensure access to healthcare, education and other services;

7.  Expresses concern regarding the intentions of terrorist groups, particularly Al-Qaeda and ISIS, which are seeking to exploit the Rohingya crisis in order to take root in Burma and expand their influence throughout the whole region; underlines the fact that some Rohingya refugees and insurgent members of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army may become vulnerable to recruitment by extremist movements;

8.  Calls on the Government of Myanmar to grant UN agencies, other international and local humanitarian organisations, and domestic and international media, full access to all parts of the country; emphasises that only through full media access and full transparency will the flow of information be encouraged to determine exactly what is taking place in the region;

9.  Expresses sincere disappointment at the Government of Myanmar and Aung San Suu Kyi for refusing to address the issue and denying and being complicit in the atrocities that are taking place; urges Aung San Suu Kyi to speak out against the atrocities and to take concrete measures to help the Rohingya;

10.  Urges China and all other international and regional actors to use all bilateral, multilateral, and regional platforms at their disposal to demand an end to the atrocities and bring about a peaceful resolution;

11.  Regrets the failure of the UN Security Council to adopt a resolution on the situation of the Rohingya;

12.  Takes note of the statements made by the VP/HR; is of the opinion, however, that greater commitments are necessary; recalls its request to the VP/HR and the EU Member States to significantly increase their pressure on the Myanmar Government;

13.  Calls for the EU and its Member States to extend the existing arms embargo against Myanmar so as to include all forms of military assistance, and to impose targeted financial sanctions against senior officials responsible for serious violations;

14.  Urges all states to step up their humanitarian efforts for persons displaced within Myanmar and in other countries, including Bangladesh, and to protect women, children, and others at risk of sexual violence, trafficking and similar abuses;

15.  Calls on the VP/HR to, in conjunction with the Trade Commissioner, suspend the trade preferences that Myanmar retains under the Everything But Arms scheme and to communicate to the Government of Myanmar that negotiations on an EU-Myanmar investment treaty may be suspended;

16.  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.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0316.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2016)0506.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0351.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0089.


Texts adopted, P8_TA(2017)0247.

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