Rohingya crisis: MEPs set to vote on possible sanctions against Myanmar

As the crisis of Rohingya Muslims worsens, British MEP Amjad Bashir has called for a comprehensive set of international sanctions against Myanmar.

Amjad Bashir | Photo credit: European Parliament audiovisual

By Martin Banks

14 Sep 2017

He also demanded that a trade mission from the European Parliament's international trade committee, which is scheduled to visit Myanmar next week, be suspended.

Bashir recently highlighted the persecution of the Rohingyas in a report to Parliament on the plight of stateless peoples.

His demand comes as MEPs debated the crisis in Myanmar at their parliamentary plenary in Strasbourg on Thursday.

An urgent resolution to go before Parliament later in the day will press the EU to consider all possible means of compelling the Myanmar Burmese authorities to halt the atrocities which, says the text, have provoked the refugee crisis in neighbouring Bangladesh from fleeing Rohingyas.

During the plenary debate, Bashir said, "The world is waking up to the horrors being visited upon the Rohingyas. This is ethnic cleansing in the 21st century.

"The time has come for sympathetic words to translate into firm action and that action must mean sanctions.

"The trade mission to Myanmar next week must be halted right now.

"I am all for trade and commerce, but we must put lives and people first. Where there is no fairness and dignity there can be no trade. Commerce cannot turn a blind eye to violence and cruelty."

In another development, the European Commission has announced additional humanitarian aid of €3m to address the pressing needs of Rohingya civilians. The funding comes on top of the €12 million announced in May.

Christos Stylianides, the European Commissioner for humanitarian aid and crisis management, described the situation as critical, adding, "This additional funding will help provide emergency shelter, water, food and health assistance for newly arrived refugees in Bangladesh and people in need in Myanmar, as soon as humanitarian access to the latter is restored."

The official added, "The EU continues to call for full humanitarian access and the respect for international human rights law in Myanmar."

The EU, he pointed out, has been providing humanitarian support in Myanmar and Bangladesh for many years. Since 1994, the Commission has provided €232m in humanitarian aid to Myanmar. Total EU humanitarian aid to Bangladesh since 2007 amounts to €153.6m.


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