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Verbatim report of proceedings
Tuesday, 12 December 2017 - Strasbourg Revised edition

11. Situation of the Rohingya people (debate)
Video of the speeches

  Președintele. – Următorul punct de pe ordinea de zi este dezbaterea privind Declarația Vicepreședintelui Comisiei/Înaltului Reprezentant al Uniunii pentru afaceri externe șşi politica de securitate referitoare la situația populației Rohingya (2017/2973(RSP)).


  Federica Mogherini, Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. – Mr President, last month I was in Bangladesh together with the Foreign Ministers of two Member States, Germany and Sweden. This was another way of showing teamwork and the joint action of European Union institutions plus Member States.

I was in Bangladesh in one of the largest camps hosting Rohingya refugees. When you see the camps with your own eyes, when you talk to the people there, when you hear the stories, and when you see the reality on the ground, it makes quite a difference. The thing that struck me the most was the number of young children – I have to say children of my little daughter’s age, six or seven years old – taking care of younger children who were two or three years old. These were children who were travelling together. The older ones were raising the little ones, but we are talking about children we normally consider very, very, very little. It is hard to imagine what that must feel like because these kids are forced to grow up. They are stripped of their right to childhood, and this is going to stay for the rest of their lives.

I also met a group of women and heard from them about the violence they had suffered and the violence against their children. When you have heard these stories once, you will never ever forget them. When you hear these stories, action is no longer just a political priority, but it becomes a sort of moral imperative. I am telling you this because sometimes we have to link the political dynamics to stories, faces and people.

That same night, I met with the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, not only to express the European Union’s support for the country, but also, and most importantly, to discuss possible solutions to the crisis. Since the camp is in an area where it is certain that when the rainy season starts, the situation will become impossible to manage. It is a camp hosting some 650 000 people in one place.

The day after that visit – the day after I talked to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh – I was in Myanmar for the Asia-Europe meeting. Right before the summit, we asked to set up a special meeting with all the ministers who were there, including Aung San Suu Kyi, to discuss the situation of the Rohingyas and to find a way forward together. It was a quiet meeting with no cameras and no publicity, but it was a very important one. We agreed at that meeting on a shared perspective to start facing the crisis, step by step, but with commitments and with strong regional and international involvement. Just a few days later, – actually, if I am not wrong, three days later – a deal between Myanmar and Bangladesh was announced and signed. We had discussed that deal during that meeting. We had encouraged the two parties to discuss together the first steps that could be made.

We know very well that it is still an extremely difficult situation and that implementation of that agreement will have to be accompanied and monitored extremely carefully by the international community, but this is finally a first step in the right direction after months, if not years or decades, of inaction or actually, even worse, sometimes of turning a blind eye. It could be an entry point to address the crisis from a bilateral point of view between Bangladesh and Myanmar and, together with the agencies, starting from the UNHCR.

For us, this comes after several months of intense engagement. I was here when you adopted your last resolution in September. One month later, we adopted conclusions on the crisis in the Foreign Affairs Council. In the light of the disproportionate use of force by the army, we also decided to suspend invitations to the Commander in Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces and other senior military officers, and to review ongoing practical defence cooperation.

Meanwhile, we have been active at the UN Human Rights Council. First, we supported the extension of the fact-finding mission’s mandate. Second, we supported a special session on Myanmar last week and the resolution proposed by Bangladesh. We also supported the resolution at the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee. Beyond public statements and beyond the political and diplomatic work we have carried out in these months, we stepped up our humanitarian assistance and co—hosted the UN Pledging Conference in October in Geneva.

As usual, the European Union has pledged more money than anybody else. If you look at the European Union and Member States together, we pledged more than the rest of the world combined. Let me add that our pledges always turn into real money and real projects that help real people, meaning that we always deliver on our pledges.

But the humanitarian work alone is not enough. We have to solve the problem. It is now up to Myanmar to improve the situation in the Rakhine State so that everyone can go back to their homes in a safe and dignified way. The rule of law and full humanitarian access must be granted as a first step. So far the Government has granted access to the Red Cross and the World Food Programme in Rakhine State, but we will continue to press for full access to the broader UN and NGO community. At the same time, the people of Rakhine must be guaranteed the right to education and basic social services, and the difficult issue of citizenship must be addressed, all in line with the Annan plan.

Let me say that this is perhaps the most important political point to me. The authorities of Myanmar have declared their intention to fully implement the Annan plan. Aung San Suu Kyi has expressed her willingness and commitment to do so, not only in our private meetings, but also in our common press activities and publicly several times. We know very well that she faces an extremely complex situation in the country. The democracy of Myanmar is a very young one. The country is still somehow in a democratic transition, and the path towards an inclusive and pluralistic democracy is never easy, particularly after so many years of military rule.

I believe that Aung San Suu Kyi needs and wants our support to implement fully the Annan plan, to translate the political commitment into real action, and to do it, step by step, accompanied by the international community and other countries in the region.

In the coming days and weeks, we will continue to work for dignified voluntary returns based on the bilateral agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar. We will push for humanitarian access in Rakhine State, based on the first openings made by the Government, and we will work to address the root causes of the crisis and push for the full implementation of the Annan report.

I am sure that the European Parliament will continue to contribute to such work that will hopefully bring results, although probably not within a very short time period. However, I believe that the first steps in the right direction have finally been taken even if, again, I am not hiding all the limits, difficulties and shortcomings that we will still be facing in the months ahead. This is why we have to continue working in that direction together.


  Werner Langen, im Namen der PPE-Fraktion. – Herr Präsident! Danke, Frau Mogherini! Ich möchte mich im Namen der Europäischen Volkspartei ausdrücklich für Ihr Engagement bedanken. Sie haben nicht nur mit Worten für die Rechte der Rohingya gekämpft, sondern Sie haben sich vor Ort überzeugt und internationale Vereinbarungen gefördert. Herzlichen Dank von unserer Seite!

Damit sind auch die Forderungen des Parlaments vom September auf dem richtigen Weg. Ich glaube, dass wir als Europäische Union in Myanmar insbesondere dazu beitragen können, dass die Gewalt, die Einschüchterung und die Vertreibung der muslimischen Minderheit der Rohingya beendet wird.

Ich möchte mich als Vorsitzender der ASEAN-Delegation ausdrücklich für Ihren Brief von gestern bedanken, in dem Sie die Maßnahmen, die Sie ergriffen haben, nochmals aufgelistet haben. Wir stehen an der Seite der Kommission, und ich bin Ihnen besonders dankbar für die Schlussbemerkung, in der Sie gesagt haben: Myanmar ist eine junge Demokratie. Ich bezweifle, dass es schon eine Demokratie ist. Das Militär hat die Obermacht und Aung San Suu Kyi ist leider keine vollwertige Regierungschefin, sondern ist Sonderbeauftragte des Präsidenten und Außenministerin. Deshalb sind ihre Einwirkungsmöglichkeiten leider beschränkt.

Wir haben sie im Frühjahr besucht und haben uns davon überzeugen können, wie schwierig der Prozess ist. Heute steht es auf der Tagesordnung. Es ist richtig, die militärische Führung zu sanktionieren. Es ist richtig, die Rückführungen nach Bangladesch durchzusetzen. Es ist richtig, den Rohingya humanitäre Hilfe zu geben. Es ist richtig, im Februar die verheerende Situation erneut in Augenschein zu nehmen.

Deshalb unterstützen wir alle Ihre Aktivitäten, Frau Mogherini, und wir hoffen, dass es bald eine vernünftige Lösung für die Minderheit der Rohingya geben wird.


  Soraya Post, on behalf of the S&D Group. – Mr President, the situation of the Rohingya people is our grave concern. As people, as politicians, as human rights defenders, it is our obligation to take immediate action. I am happy to hear the Commissioner talking about the action taken, but I do not think it is enough. We have to speed up. It is our obligation to end the ongoing genocide in Myanmar. We have to use every tool available – arms embargo, punitive sanctions, trade agreements – and we have to strive for justice for the Rohingya people. Six hundred and fifty thousand Rohingyas have fled their homes, their villages set on fire with petrol bombs. They have endured rape as a weapon of war; they have seen sex trafficking of women and the kidnapping of children who are being sold as sex slaves. The military forces cannot have impunity. They need to be put on trial. As for the Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi, her prize should be withdrawn if she does not stop her silence.

The Rohingya people need to be recognised as an ethnic minority in Myanmar and should be compensated for all the violence they have been facing. It is now up to us, the international community, to give justice to the Rohingya people. As human rights are universal, so also our solidarity should be universal.


  Amjad Bashir, on behalf of the ECR Group. – Mr President, if anyone questions whether what is happening in Myanmar is ethnic cleansing, I say look for the hallmarks. Men and boys separated and murdered, women and girls raped and disfigured as a means of subjugation and control, homes and crops burnt, whole villages destroyed overnight and left smouldering and stinking of death.

At the last plenary I called for a point of order to have another debate and another resolution, but this time should be the last. Last week, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said that an act of genocide cannot be ruled out. Last week, Alex  Crawford, this extraordinary Sky News correspondent who went under cover in Myanmar, testified at my conference that of all humanitarian crises this is probably the worst she has ever witnessed. And still the world wrings its hands over how to respond.

We cannot let this suffering be met with only shrugged shoulders and bleeding hearts. The EU can be powerful in galvanising a global response, but to do so it must lead, not look for middle ground. That voice must roar not whisper. There can be no repatriation of the one million refugees unless they are recognised first as citizens of Myanmar and unless the UN is present as well as the media and humanitarian NGOs. That is why I hope that our motion can persuade the Commission and Council to use their good offices in calling for an international summit on the Rohingya. One day, our grandchildren may ask how we used that power, when a whole population has been killed and persecuted. Please let us choose to have an answer that is decent and honourable.


  Urmas Paet, on behalf of the ALDE Group. – Mr President, the situation in Myanmar is horrific. The Rohingya people are being killed and repressed, their rights denied, their homes burnt, people are starving and stuck at the border and those that have managed to flee to Bangladesh are in dire need of help.

The killings and violence must stop immediately. Those responsible must be held accountable by international tribunal. Even though an agreement has been signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar, more is needed. Before any Rohingya refugees can return, there must be credible assurances that they can do so voluntarily, safely and under full UN oversight. Landmines must be removed immediately, if needed with the help of the international community. There needs to be a time frame for the provision of citizenship rights. Monitoring of the situation of the Rohingyas in Myanmar by human rights bodies and helping them by NGOs and relief agencies should be allowed. Humanitarian aid must continue, the EU, its Member States and the international community must increase financial and material support for the refugees and their accommodation. And we need to increase the pressure on Myanmar. The European Union should adopt punitive sanctions against those responsible for human rights abuses in Myanmar, prolong the existing arms embargo and suspend trade preferences and the negotiations on the EU-Myanmar investment treaty.

One more thought: the role of Aung San Suu Kyi has been extremely disappointing. We should seriously start a discussion on the possibility of reversing international awards – the Nobel Prize, the Sakharov Prize – in these kinds of situations. It makes no sense that a person that has received such an honorary award is now also responsible for ethnic cleansing.


  Younous Omarjee, au nom du groupe GUE/NGL. – Monsieur le Président, «Je m'appelle Kamal, j'ai sept ans. Dans le village où je vivais, les policiers et les soldats sont venus, ils nous ont ordonné de rentrer dans nos maisons et ils ont tiré. Les balles ont traversé les murs. J'ai reçu plusieurs balles dans le corps. Puis, ils ont mis le feu à nos maisons. Mon père, paniqué, nous a pris, mon frère de cinq ans et moi, dans ses bras pour nous cacher dans la cour et il est retourné dans la maison pour chercher ma sœur jumelle et mon grand frère, mais mon père est ressorti seul. Aujourd'hui, nous vivons, lui et moi, dans un camp. Nous avons peur, nous avons faim. Ma mère, mon frère et ma sœur jumelle me manquent terriblement».

Madame la Vice-présidente, j'espère que ces enfants, pour grandir, pourront un tant soit peu oublier ces horreurs, qui hanteront à jamais leurs souvenirs d'enfance. Mais c'est à nous, aujourd'hui, d'agir et de clamer notre indignation pour tous les Kamal, les Mohammed, les Nacira, les Yasmine, pour tous les enfants nés Rohingyas, pour que cette indicible injustice et ce nettoyage ethnique au Myanmar cessent enfin. En Birmanie, en Libye, au Yémen, en République démocratique du Congo et dans tant d'autres pays, l'horreur est devenue quotidienne. Ne nous y habituons pas.


  Barbara Lochbihler, on behalf of the Verts/ALE Group. – Mr President, almost four months have passed since the operations by the military in northern Rakhine State started. The ethnic cleansing campaign has not stopped, and refugees are still arriving in Bangladesh. The Council stated in October that it may consider additional measures if the situation does not improve, and we urge you, High Representative, to put more pressure on the Myanmar authorities. This includes imposing travel bans and targeted financial sanctions on military and police commanders that are suspected of being responsible for the crimes committed. Just last week, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights warned that even genocide cannot be ruled out.

The EU also needs to pressure the civilian government to refer jurisdiction over the crimes committed since 25 August to the International Criminal Court. Self-referral is possible under Article 12(3) of the Rome Statute. The perpetrators of the grave human rights violations in Myanmar must be held accountable, including those who hold high military rank. The civilian government has the responsibility to fight impunity as best it can.

The current situation in Rakhine State does not allow safe and sustainable returns, according to the UNHCR’s assessment, and there is a huge threat that refugees may be forcibly returned. Any returns can only take place when safe and dignified conditions can be guaranteed. Independent human rights monitoring, as well as full humanitarian access on the ground, must be a prerequisite for any repatriation.

Finally, High Representative, let me add that you showed us the step-by-step approach now being taken, but none of the steps referred to fighting impunity. I think it is essential not to do this any later.


  James Carver, on behalf of the EFDD Group. – Mr President, no one can look at the plight of the Rohingya and feel anything but a great deal of sympathy for their situation. One would have hoped that the slow transition to democracy in Burma would have improved their position within Burmese society. Alas, such hopes have been proven wasted. Abstract discussion over the history of the Rohingya has no place in modern discourse and cannot be used to justify the persecution of these poor people.

Amongst this misery, it should not be forgotten that militant groups have fought the Burmese state since shortly after the Second World War. And there are allegations that some are connected to Islamic extremists. The UK should do all it can to facilitate dialogue and hopefully restore their place in Burmese society. If that democratisation proves to be a success, perhaps, and only then, it would be time to rethink Burmese membership of the Commonwealth, certainly not before.


  Jeroen Lenaers (PPE). – Mr President, exactly one year ago we sat in this same room and we discussed the same topics. We made it very clear to the Government of Myanmar at that point that we expected respect for the basic human rights of all its people, and for it to make significant steps towards an inclusive democracy. Today, we have to conclude that we have seen absolutely none of this. Instead, what we have seen in 2017 is the systematic use of force and violence; murder, sexual harassment and rape and the destruction of houses, livelihoods and shelters.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have fled the border to Bangladesh, and the United Nations have called it a textbook example of ethnic cleansing. This disgraceful situation needs to end and it needs to end now. I would like therefore to echo the words of Pope Francis during his visit there: ‘Let us continue to act so that their rights may be recognised. Let us not close our hearts and let us not look the other way.’ And I sincerely hope that the Government in Myanmar, but in particular also Sakharov Prize winner Aung  San Suu Kyi, listen to these words, open their hearts and finally start to act, because as Desmond Tutu has said in a direct call on Aung  San Suu Kyi, if the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, then that price is surely too high.


  Linda McAvan (S&D). – Mr President, I would like to thank the High Representative for everything she has told us, for going there, for listening to the women and the people she met, and for coming here and bearing witness and giving them a voice in our Parliament. That is extremely important.

Ms Mogherini, we can hear that that you have been doing what you can. I am a little bit sceptical about the returns process, unless there are independent monitors there to make sure that it really is voluntary and that human rights are respected. There have been some problems for human rights organisations and NGOs both in registering in Bangladesh and in getting access. If you could, please tell us more about whether those issues have been resolved.

I do not have a lot of time, but to pick up on the impunity issue, it is 70 years since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed. I do not know about you but I am getting sickened by hearing, year after year, the reports about the awful violence against women and girls. Last year we gave a Sakharov Prize to two young women who were abused and raped in the Syria/Iraqi conflict by ISIS. Now we hear these appalling stories of what is happening to women. We have an initiative with United Nations Women. Can we not do something at the United Nations to get some global action on this issue, and not come here next year to hear more awful stories about abuse of women?


  Mark Demesmaeker (ECR). – Georganiseerd, gecoördineerd en systematisch, zo worden de aanvallen van het Birmese leger en boeddhistische groepen op de Rohingya omschreven in een rapport van het VN-mensenrechtenbureau. Sinds augustus joegen etnische zuiveringen 620 000 Rohingya op de vlucht naar Bangladesh. Hun platgebrande dorpen en vermoorde familieleden lieten ze achter.

De intentieverklaring tussen Bangladesh en Myanmar over hun repatriëring is een stap vooruit, maar doet toch ook nog vragen rijzen. En, mevrouw Mogherini, u heeft er in uw verklaring zelf naar verwezen: op welke manier zal die repatriëring verlopen? Waar zullen die mensen worden hervestigd en hoe zullen ze worden opgevangen in een land dat hen decennialang heeft achtergesteld? Kan dat wel op een op een waardige manier? Kijk, er is maar één echte menselijke oplossing voor deze crisis. De Rohingya een wettige en veilige status bieden door hun een nationaliteit te geven. We mogen toch niet aanvaarden dat mensen als verworpenen moeten leven op basis van hun geloof of van hun afkomst of wat dan ook. Ik dank u oprecht, mevrouw Mogherini, voor uw inzet. En ik vraag u om u blijvend om het lot van deze mensen te bekommeren.


  Jean Lambert (Verts/ALE). – Mr President, I am speaking in my capacity as Chair of Parliament’s Delegation for relations with countries of South Asia, including Bangladesh. Our delegation visited some years ago now the camps at Cox’s Bazaar of the Rohingya who were currently there. The EU has been a consistent funder for those camps over the years and indeed has worked with the Government of Bangladesh to try to find solutions for the situation of the Rohingya people.

Over the years, I think it has been pretty clear that Myanmar has been playing games over this. They say that they will take back people with appropriate ID documents but they do not issue appropriate ID documents, so how is this supposed to happen? If we get a return this time it has to be with people who can be safe when they get back.

So what can we do to change the mind of the government in Myanmar? I fully support those who have been urging sanctions. The international community had sanctions against Myanmar in the past. I think this latest effort at ethnic cleansing, of wiping out a people and their history, deserves at least sanctions now.


  Ignazio Corrao (EFDD). – Mr President, the Rohingya are still facing serious human rights violations of all sorts, and systematic discrimination and persecution. The situation does not seem to be improving. The European Parliament tried to draw attention to this situation several times, most recently with the Resolution of last September, a few days after the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid bin Ra'ad Zied al-Hussein, declared that the situation in Myanmar seemed to be a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.

As the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh have signed the agreement to repatriate close to a million Rohingya refugees currently in Bangladesh, these people are facing the prospect of a return with absolutely no guarantee of safety. I have some major concerns about where these people will go after repatriation, as they will most likely be deported from one camp to another and we will probably face once again the horrific crimes we all know about. These people in need probably don’t even have a house to go back to as most houses were burned down by the military and villages were burned to the ground.


  László Tőkés (PPE). – Kedves Kollégák! Az 1989 óta Mianmar nevet viselő Burma figyelemre méltó átalakulásokon ment át a 2011-ben elkezdődött reformok óta. A több évtizedes katonai diktatúra megdöntését követően, a 2016 áprilisában demokratikus úton hatalomra került új kormány történelmi lehetőséget jelent az ország számára. A változások folyamatában, a maga sajátos eszközeivel, az Európai Union döntő szerepet játszott.

Az utóbbi hónapokban azonban jogos aggodalomra ad okot a Rakhine államban élő, népes rohindzsa közösség elleni hatósági erőszak, mely a puszta állampolgársággal sem rendelkező üldözött népcsoport tagjainak százezreit teszi földönfutóvá és kényszeríti őket a szomszédos Bangladesbe menekülni. Az ENSZ emberi jogi főbiztosa a kialakult tarthatatlan helyzetet méltán minősítette etnikai tisztogatásnak.

Idén szeptemberben az Európai Parlament sürgősségi határozatban ítélte el a mianmari kormánynak a rohindzsa kisebbséggel szembeni minősíthetetlen bánásmódját. Az országban végbemenő demokratikus átalakulások sikerének, valamint az Unió további támogatásának előfeltételeként szabta meg a súlyos emberi jogi és etnikai jogsértések haladéktalan kivizsgálását, a bűnelkövetők felelősségre vonását.


  Wajid Khan (S&D). – Mr President, the words of this strong resolution need to be translated into urgent action. The climate of impunity must end as it only serves to perpetuate the cycle of abuse. The EU must immediately impose targeted economic sanctions and travel restrictions on military personnel involved in these atrocities and refer them to the International Criminal Court.

We need major regional actors to put pressure on Myanmar to stop these heinous crimes, allow humanitarian access and a UN fact-finding mission in Rahkine State, as well as ending the institutionalised system of segregation. Assisting Bangladesh with this humanitarian challenge is crucial to provide a safe space for the Rohingya for as long as they need it, as well as psychological support and child protection for women and girls affected by these evil crimes. Indeed, there are no shortages of options for pressurising the Myanmar military to stop this campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya. If we cannot action this now in an effective and timely manner, then this resolution is not worth the paper it is written on, Madam High Representative.


  Sajjad Karim (ECR). – Mr President, for many years now, Member after Member of the European Parliament has stood in this Chamber and highlighted the plight of the Rohingya. It seems that those calls have fallen on deaf ears. Today we arrive in a situation where even the Pope cannot go there and call these people by their true identity. It is clear that, whilst there is much that is being done by the European Union today, unless and until we insist on a regularisation and status for these people, they are going to continually find themselves in this position time after time.

Madam High Representative, when you speak about Aung San Suu Kyi – and I hear from many that there is a willingness from her to cooperate with us – the fact of the matter is this: if somebody who holds a prize given by this House, the home of human rights – the Sakharov Prize – finds herself unable to speak for her own people, then this House must review its relationship with her. Silence is no longer an option. It is not good enough. It must stop. She must speak out now.


  Eduard Kukan (PPE). – Mr President, we are facing one of the worst humanitarian and refugee crises in the world. We hear on a daily basis of acts of unprecedented ethnic and religious violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar. As part of the international community, it is our duty to express our deep concern about the grave violations of human rights, the ethnic and religious assaults, and the displacement of people from the Rohingya community in Rakhine State.

We have to be united in our calls and actions to end the violence against the Rohingya and bring the crisis to an end as soon as possible. We should also continue our attempts to bring aid to Rakhine State, and to those who found shelter in Bangladesh. We need to appeal more strongly to the Myanmar Government to cease all military actions and provide full access for humanitarian organisations and UN agencies in that country.

The crisis really deserves our full attention. We see the most vulnerable and poorest countries in the region at the centre of the crisis, and its deepening could reach far beyond the region. We need, therefore, to make use of our diplomatic means on the international scene and within the region, firstly to find an immediate solution to the crisis and, secondly, to tackle post-crisis development.


  Ismail Ertug (S&D). – Herr Präsident! Vielen herzlichen Dank, sehr geehrte Hohe Vertreterin, meine sehr verehrten Kolleginnen und Kollegen! Zunächst einmal herzlichen Dank an Sie für Ihre bisherigen Bemühungen, die Situation zu befrieden, Frau Mogherini.

Ich denke, es handelt sich hier um eine jahrzehntelange, strukturelle Diskriminierung und Segregation der Rohingya. Ich bin im Übrigen nicht der Meinung, dass es ausschließlich ein bilaterales Problem ist; ich glaube vielmehr, dass es ein weltweites Problem darstellt.

Die Frage stellt sich: Was können wir tun? Ich glaube, dass es hierzu zunächst einmal einer fact finding mission bedarf, dass es hier auch einer dringenden humanitären Hilfe bedarf und dass wir auch dringend internationale Beobachter dafür benötigen.

Im Übrigen: Ich denke, dass es erforderlich ist, gezielte Sanktionen gegen Angehörige des Militärs und der Sicherheitsapparate, die sich eben dort schuldig gemacht haben, zu verhängen. Ich denke, wir müssen unser Möglichstes tun, und wir dürfen nicht glauben, dass es ausreicht, irgendetwas zu tun.


  Νότης Μαριάς (ECR). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, είναι η έκτη ομιλία που πραγματοποιώ εδώ, στο Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο, για τους πρόσφυγες Ροχίνγκια. Ήδη από τον Μάιο του 2015 το Ευρωπαϊκό Κοινοβούλιο συζητά περίπου μία φορά κάθε έξι μήνες γι’ αυτή την τραγική κατάσταση που βιώνουν οι Ροχίνγκια. Αυτό αποδεικνύει ότι η Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση συζητά πολύ και λαμβάνει ελάχιστα μέτρα.

Η κατάσταση των Ροχίνγκια πλέον είναι δραματική. Στη Βιρμανία οι βουδιστές διώκουν μουσουλμάνους. Αλλού οι μουσουλμάνοι σφάζουν χριστιανούς. Οι θρησκευτικές συγκρούσεις είναι πρόσχημα· είναι προπέτασμα καπνού, για να συγκαλύψουν τα οικονομικά συμφέροντα τα οποία κερδίζουν από αυτές τις συγκρούσεις.

Εν προκειμένω η εθνοκάθαρση των Ροχίνγκια γίνεται για οικονομικούς λόγους, προκειμένου να αρπάξουν τη γη τους εκεί όπου κατοικούσαν οι κοινότητες των Ροχίνγκια, διότι εκεί υπάρχει ενδιαφέρον από τις πολυεθνικές να γίνουν εξορύξεις. Ταυτόχρονα έχουν ενδιαφέρον και να τους αρπάξουν τα ύδατα τα οποία εκμεταλλεύονταν. Επομένως πρέπει να ληφθούν μέτρα. Πρέπει να επιβληθούν κυρώσεις στο στρατιωτικό καθεστώς. Πρέπει να παραπεμφθούν οι υπαίτιοι στο Ποινικό Δικαστήριο της Χάγης, για να επιβληθούν κυρώσεις.


  Joachim Zeller (PPE). – Herr Präsident, Hohe Vertreterin! Die UNO spricht von den Rohingya als der am meisten verfolgten Minderheit der Welt. Dabei ist ja die Verfolgung, Ermordung und Vertreibung von Rohingya keine Entwicklung der letzten Jahre, nur hat die Welt anscheinend bis vor kurzem nicht richtig hingesehen. Seit der Unabhängigkeit Birmas im Jahre 1948 hat es 20 Militäraktionen in das Gebiet der Rohingya gegeben. Hunderttausende mussten ihr Land verlassen, 1,5 Millionen Rohingya leben bereits im Exil, ihre Dörfer und Ortschaften wurden verwüstet, Zigtausende sind ermordet worden, und ihr Eigentum ist an Burmesen übergeben worden.

Nach der Revolution buddhistischer Mönche und der Entlassung der Nobelpreisträgerin Aung San Suu Kyi aus dem Hausarrest vor sechs Jahren gab es die leise Hoffnung auf eine vorsichtige Demokratisierung des Landes. Allerdings änderte sich an der Lage der Rohingya bislang nichts. Im Gegenteil: Das Militär zeigte seine Macht, mordete weiter, verwüstete weiter die Dörfer und Heimstätten der Rohingya und zwang wieder viele Hunderttausende zur Flucht.

Humanitäre Hilfe für die Geflüchteten tut not in den Elendslagern, in denen sie sich befinden. Aber gleichzeitig braucht es politische Lösungen. 700 Millionen Euro Entwicklungsgelder stellt die EU seit 2014 Myanmar zur Verfügung. Diese sind an die Bedingung zu knüpfen, dass die Rohingya endlich als Staatsbürger anerkannt werden. Auch auf regionaler Ebene muss es zu politischen Lösungen kommen, denn auch die Nachbarländer wie Bangladesch sind von den Massenvertreibungen betroffen. Da braucht es jetzt den Einsatz der gesamten internationalen Gemeinschaft.


  Neena Gill (S&D). – Mr President, almost two-thirds of a million Rohingya have fled their homes. Nearly half a million of them are in need of health and food assistance, and many of them are children under five. The UN Human Rights chief said last week that the atrocities committed by state forces may amount to genocide.

Knowing this, I am baffled that the Foreign Affairs Council yesterday once again failed to adopt decisive measures to bring pressure to bear on the authorities and military in Myanmar – failed even to discuss the situation of the Rohingya, despite calls from me and many colleagues from this House and from civil society.

My questions to you, High Representative, are: will Myanmar be on the agenda of the Foreign Affairs Council on 22 January? Will the Council adopt targeted sanctions against those murdering and raping men, women and children? What steps will you take to achieve a unified position vital to ratchet up pressure vis-à-vis China and Russia, who are blocking action in the Security Council?

The repatriation deal between Myanmar and Bangladesh is a replication of the 1992 Agreement which already proved to be untenable. The EU needs to ensure the Rohingya are not forcibly returned, and prioritise implementation of the Annan Commission recommendation.


Procedura „catch the eye”


  Jiří Pospíšil (PPE). – Paní komisařko, já se připojuji ke svým kolegům, kteří zde vyjádřili určitou skepsi k dané situaci. To, že je uzavřena dohoda mezi Myanmarem a Bangladéšem, situaci Rohingyů stále neřeší. Pokud se podíváme na výpovědi těchto uprchlíků, pak většina z nich se bojí vrátit do své původní země. Chtějí jasné záruky. Bude hodně na nás, na evropské diplomacii, také na Vás, abychom tlačili Myanmar k tomu, aby poskytl jasné záruky, že na těchto lidech se násilí dále nebude opakovat.

To násilí tam trvá desítky let a jedna dohoda ho určitě nevyřeší. Je třeba také tlačit na to, co tu říkali někteří kolegové, aby zločiny proti lidskosti byly vyšetřeny. Není možné říci, máme nyní dohodu s Bangladéšem a vše se vrací do původní situace a zapomeňte na to, že někde byly zavražděny tisíce lidí. Je třeba, aby tyto hrůzné zločiny byly vyšetřeny, a já jsem také pro to, abychom vůči Myanmaru řešili otázku sankcí.


  Hilde Vautmans (ALDE). – Mevrouw Mogherini, u zegt terecht: "We moeten deze afschuwelijke situatie koppelen aan verhalen en gezichten". Wel, ik geef er u één: Shadi Babiran, een 16-jarige meisje. Op een dag komt het leger het dorp binnen. Ze vermoorden de mensen, ze branden de huizen plat en zij wordt ontvoerd samen met andere meisjes. U heeft die verhalen ook gehoord. Urenlang verkracht, geschopt tot ze erbij flauwviel. Dat meisje is haar jeugd afgenomen.

Eigenlijk blijft het voor mij dan toch veel te stil. De VN zegt niets. Onze Nobelprijswinnares laat niets van zich horen. En ik vind eigenlijk dat Europa ook te stil is. U heeft wel gezegd: "Ik was daar, er is een akkoord", maar de Europese Raad heeft er geen aandacht besteed. Ik denk dat we meer moeten doen. Er is een genocide aan de gang. Laten we eens echt actie ondernemen. Wapenembargo opvoeren, pleiten om de landmijnen weg te halen, zorgen dat de schuldigen gestraft worden. Laten we ervoor zorgen dat de kinderen daar hun jeugd terugkrijgen.


  Τάκης Χατζηγεωργίου (GUE/NGL). – Κύριε Πρόεδρε, η κατάσταση των Ροχίνγκια είναι τραγική. Είναι μια κόλαση. Έχει περιγραφεί από όλους τους συναδέλφους. Έχει περιγραφεί όμως και από την ίδια την αντιπρόεδρο με τα πιο σκληρά λόγια, δεδομένου ότι εμείς περιγράφουμε αλλά η ίδια έχει δει αυτή την κατάσταση, ίσως μάλιστα και μερικοί από μας. Σημειώνω τη φράση περί «γρήγορης μετακίνησης από την παιδική ηλικία στην ενηλικίωση» για παιδιά των πέντε ετών, που αναγκάζονται να προστατεύουν τα πιο ανήλικα αδέρφια τους.

Είναι ηθική μας υποχρέωση και όχι πολιτική υποχρέωση –έχει λεχθεί– να υπερασπιστούμε αυτούς τους ανθρώπους. Έχω όμως δύο-τρία ερωτήματα, κυρία Mogherini: Συμφωνήσατε, είπατε, και θα ήθελα να ξέρω κάποιες περισσότερες λεπτομέρειες αυτής της συμφωνίας μεταξύ της Μιανμάρ και του Μπανγκλαντές. Τέλος, θα ήθελα να ξέρω τι ακριβώς είπε η κυρία Αούνγκ Σαν Σούου Κίι, την οποία τιμήσαμε σε αυτό το Ευρωκοινοβούλιο για τους αγώνες της για ελευθερία. Δεν νομίζω ότι θα λύσει το πρόβλημα εάν της πούμε κάτι πίσω, αλλά σίγουρα οφείλει να υπερασπιστεί τα δικαιώματα των ανθρώπων της χώρας της.


  Fabio Massimo Castaldo (EFDD). – Signor Presidente, onorevoli colleghi, "rohingya": una parola che a molti suonava sconosciuta, il nome di un'etnia, di una minoranza islamica perseguitata dai Tatmadaw, i militari buddhisti birmani. Un popolo che nessuno vuole, che ha visto la sua identità negata, i suoi diritti brutalmente calpestati.

I bengalesi – così li chiamano in Myanmar – sono stati privati della loro cittadinanza, della loro libertà e persino della loro dignità e umanità. Torture, violenze, stupri e massacri: nulla è stato risparmiato loro negli anni, specialmente in questi mesi. Le Nazioni Unite parlano già di pulizia etnica, e Al Hussein, l'Alto commissario per i diritti umani, dichiara che le azioni commesse dai militari potrebbero essere classificate come genocidio. Non a caso il numero dei rifugiati, circa 650 000, è comparabile alle persone in fuga dal Ruanda nel 1992.

Lancio quindi una richiesta al premio Sacharov e Nobel per la pace Aung San Suu Kyi, che finora è stata colpevolmente silente, affinché il governo autorizzi la missione di accertamento del Consiglio dei diritti umani dell'ONU e permetta ad agenzie di aiuto e osservatori di accedere al territorio birmano. Chiedo che l'accordo con il Bangladesh per il rimpatrio venga implementato solo a condizione di un pieno riconoscimento della cittadinanza a questo popolo martoriato.

Coraggio, coerenza e impegno è quello che stiamo chiedendo ad Aung San Suu Kyi e a tutti noi. Restiamo umani.


  José Inácio Faria (PPE). – Senhor Presidente, Senhora Alta Representante, caros Colegas, os Rohingyas de Myanmar, a maior comunidade de apátridas do mundo, são, desde a independência daquele país em 48, vítimas constantes de tortura, negligência e repressão. As atrocidades de que esta minoria tem sido alvo desde o passado mês de agosto já causaram mil mortos e provocaram o êxodo de mais de meio milhão de refugiados para o Bangladesh onde atualmente se encontram numa situação que o meu compatriota António Guterres, Secretário-Geral das Nações Unidas, descreveu como um pesadelo humanitário e de direitos humanos.

Caros colegas, esta casa não pode deixar de condenar veementemente esta limpeza étnica e de apoiar o acordo entre o Bangladesh e Myanmar para que o regresso dos repatriados Rohingyas possa ser feito de forma segura e sustentada sem mais segregação e com controlos militares, aliás, como disse aqui a Senhora Alta Representante que, desde já, quero felicitar pelo seu excelente trabalho. Já quanto à Sra. Aung San Suu Kyi, líder de facto de Myanmar, esta tem, enquanto laureada do Prémio Nobel da Paz, especiais responsabilidades na promoção da tolerância religiosa e ética e não pode desresponsabilizar o exército birmanês por esta violenta campanha de terror e ódio.


  Csaba Sógor (PPE). – Mr President, no wonder that the flight of over 700 000 Rohingya to Bangladesh was the quickest exodus of people the world has seen since the genocide in Rwanda. Those fortunate enough to get to Bangladesh alive now live in squalid camps in miserable conditions and with limited access to food, clean water and healthcare.

Despite what they went through, most Rohingya want to go back to their homeland. This, however, should not happen until there are solid international guarantees that the violence and repression in Rakhine State has completely stopped. Another precondition should be that the Myanmar authorities return all looted property and compensate returnees for the loss of lives and goods during the violence. To avoid past mistakes, no returns should be forced or take place in the absence of strong assurances that Myanmar would respect the dignity and rights of the Rohingya who return.


(Încheierea procedurii „catch the eye”)


  Federica Mogherini, Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. – Mr President, first of all, let me say that it is always useful to hear Members’ views, take them into consideration for the continuation of our work on the ground, and continue to use all the instruments we have.

As many Members said, there is a certain amount of work we can do. There are other things that are not in our power or our hands to solve, but the fact that we are by far the largest humanitarian donor, literally keeping people alive in very difficult conditions, is already a very important component of our work on stabilisation and development assistance and on political dialogue.

I would like to stress the fact that the bilateral agreement was reached after we applied pressure and after our meetings together with both the Bangladeshi and the Myanmar sides. We will continue with the monitoring of the implementation of this agreement and with the support specifically for human rights, democracy and – let me mention one point that was raised by one of you and that I believe is extremely important – the work we do on accountability and the fight against impunity. This has to be part of the commitments that are taken by the Myanmar authorities.

We know very well – as I said at the beginning and as you are all extremely aware – that Myanmar is, even more than a young democracy, a country in transition still, and we have to be aware of the fact that we have to do two difficult exercises at the same time. On the one hand, we have to find a solution to the issue of the Rohingya that is sustainable and in full respect of all of their rights. This is doable with the full implementation of the Annan report, to which Aung San Suu Kyi has committed herself. On the other hand, we have to strengthen the democratic process in Myanmar, knowing very well that there is a political fight in that country and things are complicated, to say the least. So we also have to prevent the clock turning backwards in Myanmar itself, and after so many years of military rule this is always a risk. So this is the exercise we are doing and, with a strong commitment and strong engagement from the European Union side, we will continue to do so.

On returns, these obviously have to happen in a dignified and safe manner, in full respect for all rights and international standards. This is not an issue that is going to be solved easily – on the contrary – but I believe that one first extremely small but encouraging step has happened. It is not just a bilateral issue between Myanmar and Bangladesh, but without that first bilateral step, the international work to try to solve the problem would not be possible. We will continue to work and to push the international community and in particular, as I said, the UNHCR and international NGOs towards a full role in this process. It will be a long process that will require all our political determination.

The Council for sure will come back to this point: we adopted Council conclusions in October, and I am ready to put this issue on the agenda again any time to try to help and push for a solution to this issue.

Thank you very much for keeping this issue high on the agenda. I believe this is useful and I count on your full support in the continuation of our work on this.




  Presidente. – Comunico di aver ricevuto sette proposte di risoluzione conformemente all'articolo 123, paragrafo 2, del regolamento.

La discussione è chiusa.

La votazione si svolgerà mercoledì 13 dicembre.

Dichiarazioni scritte (articolo 162)


  Mario Borghezio (ENF), per iscritto. – Un'occasione per Papa Francesco durante il suo viaggio in Myanmar, dove avrebbe potuto ricordare espressamente la minoranza cristiana birmana che rappresenta la minoranza religiosa più importante e che viene discriminata e molestata da oltre mezzo secolo. Discriminazioni e vessazioni, durante le quali, negli anni, l'esercito ha sistematicamente bruciato villaggi, massacrato i loro abitanti e costretto decine di migliaia di sfollati a cercar rifugio nei campi profughi in Thailandia. Nonché chiese espropriate per far posto ai templi buddhisti tanto che, pur di avere un luogo dove professare la loro religione, alcuni fedeli sono costretti a rilevare e mettere a disposizione proprietà o abitazioni private. Nella quasi totale impunità, i militari continuano a commettere gravi abusi sui diritti umani, come le violenze sessuali all'interno dei complessi religiosi e la tortura di pastori, fedeli e ordinari cittadini. Inoltre, i cristiani impiegati nel servizio civile e in altri settori governativi sono solitamente trascurati nelle promozioni, a spese dei buddisti e, se detengono posizioni governative, rischiano sanzioni se non sostengono le iniziative buddiste, quindi le autorità spesso attingono al pagamento dei cristiani scivola per il finanziamento. Purtroppo non si è elevato alcun grido di condanna. Un vero peccato!

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