On 25 August 2017, the world witnessed the beginning of the forced displacement of more than 750 000 Rohingya people from Rakhine State in Myanmar, fleeing violence and persecution from the Myanmar military. The vast majority of them settled temporarily in the Cox’s Bazar District of Bangladesh, whereas others fled across the region. Five years later, and despite international efforts and calls on Myanmar to create the conditions for their return to their homeland, the future of the Rohingya remains uncertain.
Bangladesh, in particular, has been hosting Rohingyas for decades, and since 2017 has expended considerable effort to ensure their protection and provide shelter and vital humanitarian assistance to almost one million Rohingya refugees. Whereas the EU will – also through international organisations – continue to support Bangladesh in its fundamentally human and laudable response to the crisis, five years later, the provision of humanitarian assistance alone is reaching its limits. It is necessary to also identify and implement more sustainable interim solutions addressing the humanitarian, development, and peace dimensions of this crisis, pending their return. In this context, the EU will continue to support international dialogue for peace and reconciliation efforts.
Appalling crimes, including reported war crimes and crimes against humanity, have been committed against Rohingya and persons belonging to other minorities in Myanmar. These crimes call for accountability. Today, the same military leadership responsible for the crimes against the Rohingya is leading Myanmar’s junta. The EU reiterates its strong condemnation of the 1 February 2021 coup and of the grave human rights violations committed by the Myanmar Armed Forces against all the people of Myanmar since then. The EU expresses its unequivocal support for all the people of Myanmar, including Rohingya and other minorities, and their democratic aspirations.
The EU continues to advocate for the safe, sustainable, dignified, and voluntary return of the Rohingya refugees to their places of origin and to support the work of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar to ensure full accountability for the crimes committed against them. Addressing the root causes of this protracted crisis, including the systematic abuses suffered by the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya remaining in Rakhine State, must remain an international priority. In this regard, the EU fully supports the work of the International Court of Justice.