Human rights: Buddhism in Tibet, Rohingya in Myanmar, mass graves in Iraq
The European Parliament condemns the demolition of the Larung Gar Tibetan Buddhist Academy, the imprisonment of scholar Ilham Tohti by Chinese authorities and the persecution of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar, while urging the protection of mass graves in Iraq, in three resolutions voted on Thursday.
Halt demolition of Larung Gar Academy, release jailed scholar Ilham Tohti
The Chinese authorities should suspend the demolition of Larum Gar, stop the eviction of its residents and respect the freedom of expression, culture and religious belief of Tibetans, say MEPs. The demolition of monastic homes began on 20 July 2016 and it is estimated that as many as 1,000 monks and nuns have been evicted so far, with at least three nuns having committing suicide in protest.
Parliament draws attention to the “increasingly repressive regime” faced by minorities, in particular Tibetans and Uighurs, and is deeply concerned by the deterioration of the human rights situation in Tibet. MEPs call upon the Chinese government to resume constructive talks with Tibetan representatives, which were ended by China in 2010, in order to come to a peaceful solution.
Further, MEPs call for the immediate and unconditional release of Ilham Tohti, an economics scholar convicted of alleged separatism-related offences, and one of the four 2016 Sakharov prize nominees. They strongly condemn his life sentence, which was handed down without respect to due process of law, and further urge the Chinese authorities to allow him monthly visits from family members and to restore his teaching permit.
End persecution of Rohingya in Myanmar
MEPs are extremely concerned about reports of violent clashes with the Rohingya people in the state of Rakhine in Myanmar and deplore the loss of life, livelihood and shelter, as well as the reported “disproportionate use of force” by the Myanmar armed forces. They urge the military and security forces to put an immediate stop to the killing, harassment and rape of the Rohingya people and to stop burning down their homes, while pointing out the duty of the Myanmar authorities to investigate the attacks.
In addition, MEPs acknowledge efforts made by Bangladesh to host several hundred thousand Rohingya refugees, and urge the country not to “push back” against the refugees until a “satisfactory and dignified solution for their situation has been found”. The Rohingya are an ethno-religious Muslim minority numbering more than one million who have lived in Myanmar for generations, yet they remain one of the world’s most persecuted minorities.
Mass graves in Iraq
MEPs express overwhelming dismay over the ongoing discoveries of new mass graves in Iraq and Syria. They condemn “without reservation” the continuing atrocities and crimes against humanity committed by ISIS/Daesh and express their condolences to all those in Iraq who have suffered as a result.
The Iraqi authorities should “take urgent steps” to protect the gravesites around the newly recaptured Mount Sinjar area, where thousands of victims are reportedly buried, in order to ensure accountability. Protecting these gravesites is essential to achieving justice for the Yazidi victims of mass killings by ISIS/Daesh, which amount to genocide, stress MEPs.
Parliament reiterates its “full support to the Iraqi army, the armies of the global anti-ISIS/Daesh coalition, the Peshmerga forces of the KRG and their allies in their efforts to liberate Mosul and other parts of the country from ISIS/Daesh presence”.
Procedure: Non-legislative resolutions
Emilie TOURNIER / Sadie HALEPress Officer