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European Parliament adopts resolution urging UNSC to impose full arms embargo against Myanmar

  • Published at 12:53 am September 20th, 2019
File photo: Hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas attend a massive rally organized at a field in Camp No 4 (Extension) at Kutupalong's Modhurchhara in Ukhiya on Sunday, August 25, 2019, to observe two years of their latest exodus from Myanmar's Rakhine state Tanjir Rahman/Dhaka Tribune

UNSC urged to refer Myanmar to International Criminal Court

The European Parliament passed a resolution yesterday, urging the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to impose a comprehensive arms embargo on Myanmar. 

They also urged the UNSC to adopt targeted sanctions against those natural, and legal individuals who appear to be responsible for serious human rights violations.

In a resolution titled “Myanmar, notably the situation of the Rohingya,” the members of European Parliament (MEP) reiterated their strong condemnation of all past and present human rights violations which, according to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), amounts to genocide and crimes against humanity, perpetrated by the armed forces of Myanmar against the country’s minority Rohingya population.

They expressed grave concern about the ongoing and long-lasting conflict, and once again urged the Myanmar government, and its security forces to immediately stop the violations.

The resolution also commended the efforts undertaken by the government, and people of Bangladesh to provide refuge, and security to Rohingya refugees. It also urges the Bangladeshi side to fully respect the principle of non-refoulement, and not force Rohingya refugees back into Myanmar, where their lives could be in danger.

The MEPs welcomed the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) chief prosecutor to open a preliminary investigation into crimes under the court’s jurisdiction, committed against the Rohingya population since 2016.

The resolution was adopted by 546 votes in favour, 12 against, and 94 abstentions. 

The European Parliament lawmakers called on the authorities of Myanmar to create conditions and guarantees for the safe, voluntary, dignified, and sustainable return of the Rohingyas who wish to return to their native land – under the oversight of the UN.

They further urged Myanmar to enter into a dialogue with Rohingya officials, and to lawfully recognize the Rohingyas as one of the 135 ethnic groups in Myanmar.

The resolution called on the government, and the armed forces of Myanmar to allow credible and independent investigations into alleged areas of human rights violations, stressing that the perpetrators of such crimes must be brought to justice without delay.

The MEPs asked the European External Action Service (EEAS), the foreign service wing of the European Union, and the member states to seek accountability in multilateral forums for the perpetrators of crimes in Myanmar, and called upon Naypyidaw to cooperate with international efforts to ensure accountability, including access to the country for the newly operational Independent Investigative Mechanism of the UN for Myanmar.

Welcoming the adoption of sanctions by the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council on June 24, 2018, and December 21, 2018 against the military and officials from the Myanmar Armed Forces (Tatmadaw), border guard and police responsible for serious human rights violations against the Rohingya population, they expected those individuals to be subjected to constant review under the sanctions regime.

The resolution reminded Myanmar that it must fulfil its obligations, and commitments in relation to democratic principles and fundamental human rights, which are an essential component of the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme.

It also expected the European Commission to launch an investigation in this regard, and regretted that such an investigation is yet to begin.

The MEPs welcomed the decision of the International Criminal Court (ICC) regarding its jurisdiction over the deportation of Rohingya people from Myanmar, and the decision of the ICC chief prosecutor to open a preliminary investigation into crimes committed against the Rohingya population under the court’s jurisdiction since October 2016. 

They called on the UNSC to refer the situation in Myanmar to the ICC, including all crimes under its jurisdiction committed against the Rohingyas, or to create ad hoc international criminal tribunal.

The resolution called upon the EU and its member states to join, and support efforts to open a case on Myanmar’s possible violation of the UN Genocide Convention before the International Court of Justice.