Holidays Bans an Inadequate Response to Rohingya Genocide

August 24, 2020

On the eve of the third anniversary of the military offensive against ethnic Rohingya in 2017, Burma Campaign UK called on the international community to implement the recommendations of the UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar.

Not one country in the world has implemented all of the UN Fact-Finding Mission recommendations.

The USA and UK have banned Min Aung Hlaing, head of the military, from taking holidays in their country, but have not imposed sanctions to stop companies doing business with the military. The European Union hasn’t even imposed a holiday ban. Instead, a small number of lower level military personnel have been banned from holidaying in EU member states.

The UN Fact-Finding Mission made 35 main recommendations to UN Member states and international intergovernmental organisations, and 8 recommendations to the UN Security Council.

The Fact-Finding Mission recommendations include sanctioning military companies, establishing a trust fund for victims of atrocities, arms transfer sanctions, ceasing operational support to the Tatmadaw and security forces, (the EU continues to train and equip the military-controlled police force, documented to be taking part in genocide of the Rohingya), and several recommendations on international justice, including individual countries using universal jurisdiction.

“The international community failed to act to prevent genocide of the Rohingya, despite numerous warnings, and has now failed to act to hold those responsible accountable,” said Anna Roberts, Executive Director of Burma Campaign UK. “Several countries boast of sanctions they have introduced in response to genocide of the Rohingya, but when you look at the detail, it’s nothing more than banning a small number of people from taking holidays in their country.”

Burma Campaign UK publishes a ‘Dirty List’ exposing more than 100 international companies linked to Burmese military companies or supplying arms to the military. These companies help fund a military which is committing genocide against the Rohingya, and war crimes and crimes against humanity against other ethnic groups in Burma.

The UN Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar also recommended that international donors review their support for Burma’s November 2020 election if Rohingya were excluded again as in 2015. This does not appear to have happened, with the EU, Norway, UK and other countries providing support to the Union Election Commission, which in recent weeks has been banning Rohingya leaders from standing as candidates in the election. Ironically, some of the financial support was to boost participation of marginalised groups. The vast majority of Rohingya remain banned from voting. Burma’s 2020 election will be an apartheid election.

“The military carried out the offensive which drove hundreds of thousands of Rohingya out of Burma, but it is Aung San Suu Kyi’s government which consolidated and continued the genocide, implementing laws and policies which persecute the Rohingya, stealing their land, and even obstructing life-saving international aid,” said Anna Roberts. “In failing to act against those responsible for the ongoing genocide of the Rohingya, the message has gone out to despots everywhere that you can get away with genocide.”

The compilation of UN Fact Finding Mission recommendations is available here.

The Burma Campaign UK ‘Dirty List’ is available here.

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