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ICC NOTE: As Burma is a majority Buddhist nation, the presence of religious minorities typically would not raise much issue as cooperation is a key attribute. However, in Burma, the military has ruled for over 50 years and Buddhist nationalists have gained strength calling for Burma to be a Buddhist nation. racial, religious, and ethnic segregation has been a staple platform of the Buddhist nationalist groups as the displacement of an estimated 150,000 Rohingya into camps which have been described as some of the worst in the world. Basic human rights are taken from them, according to Human Rights Watch and Fortify Rights the actions of the government and military have constituted crimes against humanity. CSW-UK along with other rights groups have petitioned the government of Burma to address the crisis before it enters a phase where the consequences could be catastrophic. 

04/06/2016 Burma (CSW-UK) – Members of the European Burma Network (EBN) call upon the new government of Burma to act swiftly to start to address the Rohingya crisis in Burma/Myanmar.

The past five years have seen a dramatic escalation of human rights abuses, repression, discrimination and violence against the Rohingya.  Around 150,000 people have been displaced and are living in camps which have been described by senior United Nations officials as having some of the worst conditions in the world. Well over 100,000 Rohingya, more than ten percent of the population, have fled the country in the face of increasing repression, of whom thousands are believed to have drowned fleeing by boat.

Human Rights Watch and Fortify Rights have documented human rights abuses which meet the legal definition of ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. Experts on genocide have also warned of the dangers of genocide against the Rohingya Most Rohingya were stripped of their right to vote in last year’s election, were excluded from the recent national census, and continue to be denied their legal right to citizenship.

For decades military government of Burma have pursued a twin track policy of repression and impoverishment in an attempt to drive the Rohingya ethnic group out of the country. The new NLD led government faces enormous challenges in addressing this legacy. However, given the seriousness of the humanitarian and human rights crisis, bold and decisive action is needed immediately to start to address this issue.

Members of the European Burma Network endorse the four action steps proposed by the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK which the NLD could implement to start to address the Rohingya crisis.

These are:

Action against hate-speech and extremists – Take action to prevent hate speech and incitement of violence, and demonstrate moral leadership, with Aung San Suu Kyi and other NLD leaders personally and specifically speaking out against prejudice and hatred, and challenging the extreme nationalist narrative.

Ensure humanitarian access – Immediately lift all restrictions on the operations of international aid agencies and also start to devote more government resources to assisting IDPs and isolated villagers. Ensure safe return for all those displaced in Rakhine state.

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