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International action needed as Rohingya face executions, rape, mass arrests and starvation

October 27th, 2016  •  Author:   Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK  •  3 minute read

As the Rohingya of Burma face the worst human rights and humanitarian crisis in decades, Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK calls on governments, ASEAN and the United Nations to act now to prevent further violations of international law and mass starvation as a result of humanitarian aid being blocked.

We appreciate that the NLD led government has limited control over the military and security forces, but it cannot be said that that they are trying to do their best to end violations despite this. Instead they are acting in a way similar to previous military regimes. They are not only failing to act to try to curtail violations of international law by security forces and the military, through its state media it is actively attempting to deny abuses are taking place and publishing false news.  They have rejected United Nations calls for action in exactly the same way as during the Than Shwe military era.

If the widespread abuses currently taking place against the Rohingya were happening under the military era, there would be international condemnation and talk of international investigations, sanctions and discussions at the United Nations Security Council. Instead we are seeing silence or muted responses, and no action.

There is no end in sight to the current abuses and it is clear that neither the military or the government in Burma are willing to admit to what is taking place and take action to prevent it.

It therefore falls upon the international community to step in and protect the vulnerable Rohingya population who are facing multiple violations of international law. International law was designed specifically for situations like this. The international community must now step up to its responsibilities.

“We are facing a major crisis but without a major crisis response from the international community,” said Tun Khin, President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK. “The numbers already killed, raped and arrested could just be the beginning if action is not taken. Every diplomatic, political and legal option must be pursued.”

We call for the following initial action:

ASEAN must publicly and privately pressure the military and the government to stop all human rights violations and lift restrictions on humanitarian aid.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon must lead UN efforts personally demanding an end to all human rights violations and lifting all humanitarian aid restrictions. He must be willing to travel to Burma to meet Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and the head of the military, Min Aung Hlaing.

The international community should impose targeted sanctions against all those involved in human rights violations and restrictions on aid including visa bans, asset freezes, and restrictions on doing business with these individuals.

The United Nations Security Council must hold urgent discussions and call for an end to abuses and lifting aid restrictions.

All training programmes with the military and with police and security forces under their control should be suspended.

A UN mandated international investigation such as a UN Commission of Inquiry should be established to investigate recent human rights violations and the situation in Rakhine State.