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Seminar urges int’l action for protection of Rohingya in Myanmar

A seminar on the Rohingya crisis held at the European Parliament Wednesday called on the international community to take up bigger responsibility to stop the ethnic-cleansing of the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Soraya Post, an MEP from Sweden, told the seminar that the Rohingya are “hated because of their Muslim faith. They are hated because of growing nationalism in Myanmar.” Post who visited Myanmar and the Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh two weeks ago said, “it is time to act to stop the crime against humanity and ethnic cleansing” and called for the issue to be referred to the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. The seminar titled “The Rohingya crisis: sixth months on” was organized jointly by Soraya Post and a British MEP Wajid Khan, who is also the Special Representative to Muslim communities for the Socialist group in the EP.

Khan noted that since 25 August 2017, more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have crossed the border from Myanmar to seek shelter in Bangladesh.

He said that Myanmar and Bangladesh plan to start sending Rohingya refugees back home, just months after the Myanmar military led a deadly crackdown against them.

He urged the international community to help the Bangladesh government to take care of the refugees.

Jacqueline Hale, from the Save the Children NGO, said 58 percent of the 700,000 refugees in camps in Bangladesh are children many of whom have lost one or both parents.

She estimated that 9,000 cases of killings and maiming in Myanmar have been reported until date.

Hale called on the international community to protect the Myanmar children refugees now and in the future and commended Bangladesh for hosting such a big number of refugees.

On her part, Gaelle Dusepulchre from the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) commenting on the EU’s response to the Rohingya crisis, said, “It is time for targeted sanctions, time to use our trade leverage and time to talk about a referral to the ICC. A strong message must be sent”.

She said that the Rohingya crisis is a result of long standing discrimination.

Caroline Vinot from the European External Action Service thanked the organizers for keeping the Rohingya crisis on the political agenda. She called for the need to implement the recommendations of the Kofi Annan-lead Advisory Commission, as this would help deal with the root causes of the crisis.

Kyaw Win, from the Burma Human Rights Network said the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya could be stopped “if there is a political will by the international community.” Ambassador of Bangladesh to the EU, Shahdat Hossain, called for sustained pressure on Myanmar to stop the persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority.

However, he warned that symbolic pressures like targeted sanction will not be enough and called for more concrete steps.

Source: Kuwait News Agency