STRASBOURG, France: European lawmakers on Thursday (Friday in Manila) condemned violence suffered by Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority and called on the authorities to protect them.
Scores of Rohingya have been killed and thousands have fled Buddhist-Muslim unrest, which has tempered international optimism about Myanmar’s reforms after decades of military rule.
The European Parliament passed a motion saying that it “condemns the grave violations of human rights and the violence perpetrated against Rohingya Muslims” in Myanmar.
It said it “deplores . . . the failure of the government to protect the Rohingya from organized violence.”
The European Union (EU) lawmakers called on Myanmar authorities to do “everything in their power to protect Rohingya Muslims from violent actions” and expressed “deep concerns” over allegations that security forces have taken part in the violence.
The motion welcomed pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi’s recent opposition to a
controversial two-child policy for the Rohingya.
Suu Kyi has faced criticism for failing to speak out about the violence.
The European parliament also urged Thailand to end the “inhumane detention” of at least 1,700 Rohingya asylum seekers.
The European move comes just two months after the EU lifted sanctions on Myanmar, and two days after the European Commission readmitted Myanmar to a trade pact.
Myanmar views its population of roughly 800,000 Rohingya as illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. They are considered by the United Nations to be one of the world’s most persecuted minorities.
Thousands of Rohingya have fled Myanmar in rickety and overcrowded boats since the violence erupted last year. Scores have died making the perilous journey south towards Thailand and Malaysia.