EU condemns Rohingya 'catastrophe' in Myanmar
September 14 2017 05:54 PM
Rohingya refugees
Rohingya refugees are seen at Thaingkhali makeshift refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, on Thursday.

AFP/Brussels

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday condemned the crisis in Myanmar as a "shocking catastrophe", as the European Parliament demanded an immediate end to violence against Rohingya Muslims.
The interventions add to international pressure over the crisis that has sent nearly 380,000 people fleeing to Bangladesh, particularly on Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been pilloried by rights groups for failing to speak up for the Rohingya minority.
"What is happening in Myanmar is a shocking catastrophe really, because once again people are trying to eradicate whole ethnic groups," Juncker said during a question and answer session with a young YouTube star.
"Europe is in the process of seeing with the Myanmar government and neighbouring countries in what way we can be useful."
Juncker however declined to say whether Suu Kyi should be stripped of the Nobel Peace Prize, an award the EU itself won in 2012.
Euro-MPs meeting in Strasbourg, France, passed a resolution urging Suu Kyi to "condemn unequivocally" all incitement to racial and religious hatred.
The European Parliament resolution "strongly urges the military and security forces to immediately cease the killings, harassment and rape of the Rohingya people, and the burning of their homes".
It also urges the European Union to make it clear it is prepared to consider sanctions against Myanmar if human rights abuses continue.
A crackdown by Myanmar's army on August 25 has pushed vast numbers of the stateless Muslim minority across the border, triggering a humanitarian crisis.
The violence has driven a humanitarian crisis on both sides of the border and put intense global pressure on Suu Kyi to condemn the army campaign, which the UN says amounts to "ethnic cleansing".
Chilling accounts have emerged from Rohingya refugees telling of soldiers firing on civilians and razing entire villages in the north of Rakhine state with the help of Buddhist mobs. The army denies the allegations.
"We have put Myanmar on notice that unless the persecution and violence stops, we will take action," British MEP Amjad Bashir said.
Suu Kyi, whose reputation as a human rights champion has been left battered by her response to the crisis, is to make a speech on the issue next week.
Her limited comments so far have referenced a "huge iceberg of misinformation" and played down alleged atrocities against the Rohingya.
Bangladesh is struggling to provide relief for the huge influx of exhausted and hungry refugees -- some 60% of whom are children -- while nearly 30,000 ethnic Rakhine Buddhists as well as Hindus have also been displaced inside Myanmar.



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