We welcome the recent EU Trade delegation to Myanmar as part of a process to review the existing Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement. The Government of Myanmar has categorically failed to halt its genocidal campaign against the Rohingya people, create the conditions for the safe repatriation of Rohingya refugees; including through guarantees of their rights, freedoms, security, and restoring full-citizenship, and defied the will of the UN Security Council. With the ongoing risk of further escalations by the Myanmar military against its minority populations – it is critical the international community takes the necessary steps to exert sustained, targeted pressure on Myanmar to pave the way to helping resolve this crisis.
We have therefore welcomed the most recent EU Foreign Affairs Council Conclusions on Myanmar in December 2018; adopting further restrictive measures against military officials complicit in the genocide. We have in parallel been encouraged by the EU’s leadership in supporting the establishment of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) under the Human Rights Council, and ensuring accountability remains on the international agenda. However in spite of this – it is clear further pressure is needed.
We therefore urge the European Union to follow up on its most recent conclusions – by taking the necessary steps to expand the scope of restrictive measures to include Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing as recommended by the UN Fact-Finding Mission, as well as entities linked to the military and its officials. The military of Myanmar continues to maintain significant control over the country’s economy, and restrictive measures will only be effective if targeted at the military’s financial interests.
Furthermore, we support the principled efforts of EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström to remove Myanmar’s preferential trade tariffs under the Everything But Arms agreement (EBA). It is important this is done in conjunction with the above measures to further target the military and its financial interests, and with clear conditions set for the EBA’s reinstatement – including a halt to the military campaign against the Rohingya and Rakhine peoples, a clear time frame for a process to reinstate the full citizenship of Rohingya illegally stripped of theirs, and the safe, guaranteed return of Rohingya who were forced to flee their land. This process must by assessed by independent monitors. In parallel the Government must lift its blockade of humanitarian aid to Northern Rakhine state. The continuation of preferential treatment to a country standing accused of genocide would only further embolden the Government of Myanmar’s refusal to compromise, respect international law, or change its destructive approach.
Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO)
BURMA HUMAN RIGHTS NETWORK (BHRN)
Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK)
Rohingya Women Welfare Network (RWSS)