Rohingya: The EU must turn words into action

The European Union must turn talk into action and begin providing practical assistance to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, MEPs were told today. 

Addressing the European Parliament in Strasbourg today, Conservative MEP Amjad Bashir said that despite the Parliament passing three resolutions on the crisis, nothing had changed.

He said: "We now need to implement these resolutions. We need to get these refugees returned voluntarily to their homes in Myanmar in safety and dignity, guaranteed by the UN. We need an independent investigation of crimes against humanity and the perpetrators brought to justice. We need restoration of citizens' rights to the Rohingya back in Myanmar. Until that happens we have achieved nothing."

Fellow Conservative MEP Sajjad Karim joined in the criticism, insisting that the issue of Rohingya citizenship in Myanmar must be tackled if their future was to be secured.

He said: "The Myanmar military's ethnic cleansing of non-Buddhists continues with the aim of creating a Buddhist state. Without the issue of citizenship being addressed, that ethnic cleansing will succeed."

Mr Karim urged the European Commission to investigate whether the trade preferences currently extended to Myanmar should continue.

He asked: "Is it not now time that we made consequences to all the words that we have spoken on this issue over many years?"

MEPs approved a fourth resolution which calls for a range of actions including the provision of more international funding to assist the refugees, a trade investigation and asking EU member states to call on the UN to establish an international investigation into alleged atrocities in Myanmar.