EU Continues ‘Do Nothing’ Approach To Genocide in Burma

Burma Campaign UK today strongly criticised the European Union for deciding to continue with its ‘do nothing’ response to genocide in Burma.

Last week, European Union Foreign Ministers decided to extend existing measures in place for a further year without taking any further action, or implementing any of the recommendations of the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission. The UN Fact-Finding Mission investigated human rights violations in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States in Burma.

The decision was made without the usual official announcement and did not appear in published details of the meeting. The only reference appeared in the official Journal of the European Union, available here.

To date, the response of the European Union to the genocide of the Rohingya has been to ban 14 lower level military and security personnel from taking holidays in EU member states. Technically there is also an asset freeze against these individuals, but there is no evidence these 14 people had any assets in the EU to freeze.

A pre-existing arms embargo will be continued.

The EU is also failing to take action in response to the appalling human rights record of the civilian government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi. Almost 200 political prisoners remain in Burma’s jails, and freedom of expression and media freedom face tightening restrictions. Direct censorship of media websites has also been reintroduced.

Burma Campaign UK, along with members of the European Burma Network, had called on the European Union to take 12 practical measures to help promote human rights and democracy in Burma. The statement is available here.

“The European Union has once again decided to do nothing in response to genocide in Burma,” said Anna Roberts, Executive Director of Burma Campaign UK. “The EU has not sanctioned the military, its business interests or its top commanders. Instead the EU decided the most effective response to genocide was to stop 14 people taking holidays in the EU. This is not just a pathetic response to genocide, it is also a green light to the military to continue committing atrocity crimes.”

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