Impose global comprehensive arms embargo on Myanmar: European Parliament


Dhaka, September 21: The European Parliament (EP) has reiterated its call on the UN Security Council (UNSC) to impose a “global comprehensive arms embargo” on Myanmar.It also called for suspending all direct and indirect supplies, sales or transfers of all weapons, munitions and other military and security equipment, as well as provision of training or other military or security assistance, UNB reports.

In its latest resolution, the EP urged the UNSC to adopt targeted individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against those who appear responsible for serious crimes under international law.

The resolution was adopted with 546 votes in favour, 12 against and 94 abstentions on Thursday titled ‘Myanmar, notably the situation of the Rohingya’.

The Parliament also called upon Myanmar to recognise the Rohingyas among the 135 legally recognised Myanmar ethnic groups.

Myanmar does not recognise the Muslim-majority Rohingyas as citizens despite having lived in the country for generations. The Rohingyas are referred to as ‘Bangalis’ to imply that they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. State-sponsored discrimination against them stretches back decades.

The resolution commended efforts by the government and the people of Bangladesh to provide refuge to Rohingyas.

Bangladesh, one of the most densely populated countries in the world, is hosting more than 1.1 million Rohingyas. Most of them fled here from their homeland in Myanmar’s Rakhine State after the military launched a brutal offensive in late August 2017.

The Parliament recalled that rape and sexual violence have been a recurrent feature in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan states.

It also urged Bangladesh to lift restrictions on access to internet and online communications, as well as freedom of movement and to ensure security forces operating in the camps uphold all protection standards.

Bangladesh suspended 3G and 4G services in Rohingya camp areas in Teknaf and Ukhiya for an indefinite period earlier this month.

The European Parliament also called for further international support to the host communities.

It called for the EU, in particular the Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department (ECHO), and EU Member States to secure improvements in the protection from gender-based violence of Rohingya girls and women.

The resolution recalled the need for the provision of medical and psychological assistance in refugee camps and greater support services for victims of rape and sexual assault.

It welcomed the framework for targeted measures against officials and military generals responsible for serious human rights violations and strengthening the EU’s arms embargo set up by the Council.

The resolution called on the Council to further expand the list of those targeted by the sanctions, including Commander-in-Chief Sr Gen Min Aung Hlaing and Deputy Commander in Chief Vice Sr Gen Soe Win, and called on the Commission to review trade preferences that benefit Myanmar.

It welcomes the 2 million euros of food aid to the UN World Food Program delivered by the EU in early September for the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar and asked the Council and the Commission to continue the efforts.

The Parliament instructed its President to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of Myanmar, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the Government and Parliament of Bangladesh, 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.

The resolution insisted that the Government of Myanmar and State Counsellor Suu Kyi condemn unequivocally all incitement of hatred and to combat social discrimination and hostilities against Rohingya people and other minority groups.

It is gravely concerned about the gravity of the human rights violations and called on Myanmar to put an immediate stop the ongoing violence against Rohingya people, to become a signatory to the Rome Stature and to ensure that security and the rule of law prevail in Myanmar.

It strongly condemned all acts of violence, intimidation, harassment or restriction of freedom of expression, notably by the Myanmar military and security forces.