EU must reconsider its relationship with Myanmar, say MEPs

Sun Online Desk

18th February, 2018 03:18:20 printer

EU must reconsider its relationship with Myanmar, say MEPs

The mass exodus of Rohingya people following human rights violations makes it necessary for the European Union (EU) to reassess its relationship with Myanmar, said European parliament members after visiting Myanmar.


"The EU must reconsider its relationship with Myanmar and develop new policies based on incentives and disincentives in each sector, as well as robust conditions," they said in a press statement.


A delegation from the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI), joined by Foreign Affairs and Trade Committee MEPs as well as Members of the ASEAN Delegation visited Myanmar and the Bangladesh borders.


The Chair of the delegation Pier Antonio Panzeri (S&D, IT) said the European Parliament has had concerns about the human rights situation in Myanmar and after a five-day visit (Feb 12-16) these concerns remain as the human rights situation is clearly deteriorating in various regions of the country and affecting many diverse cultural, ethnic and religious groups, human rights defenders and journalists.


This is shown by the issue of the Rohingya people - who are being driven out of their lands, persecuted, and even killed.


The delegation visited the refugee camps in the Cox's Bazar area, Bangladesh, which are sheltering the population in dire conditions after their mass exodus.


They held meetings with civil society organisations and religious leaders who confirmed the great difficulties that the democratic transition is facing.


The delegation also met with ministers, including the Minister of defence, and parliamentarians.


The delegation supports the democratic transition process and considers it a fundamental pillar for a reform policy to ensure the country achieves what it deserves, i.e. a democratic development based on respect for fundamental freedoms and rights.


Unfortunately, they said, the current situation does not allow them to be confident of this objective being achieved, since the on-going process has slowed down and there is a serious risk of returning to the past.


"In our view it would be in the interest of Myanmar to speed up democratic and constitutional reforms to deliver better lives for its people," they said in a press statement.


They said there is a need for full implementation of the 23 November arrangement between Myanmar and Bangladesh, with guarantees including a strong involvement of the UNHCR, a modification of the 1982 law on citizenship with a view to solving the problem of stateless people; and effective monitoring of the human rights situation in the country as well as unhindered humanitarian access to Rakhine State.


They also said there is a need for an independent international investigation into the mass atrocities, which have been committed in Rakhine State since August 2017, in order to ensure accountability and avoid impunity.


The EP delegation, headed by Panzeri, Chair of the DROI Subcommittee, was composed of Joachim Zeller, Soraya Post, Amjad Bashir, Barbara Lochbiler, from the Committee on Foreign Affairs Jo Leinen and Urmas Paet, from the Committee on International Trade David Martin, and from the Delegation for relations with the countries of Southeast Asia and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) l Marc Tarabella.