Burma Action Ireland calls on Minister Flanagan to Mobilise EU Over Rohingya Refugee Crisis
Today, Friday 15th May 2015, Burma Action Ireland wrote to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Charlie Flanagan, urging him to take a lead role at EU level in ensuring that the Rohingya refugee crisis is discussed at the EU Foreign Ministers when they meet on Monday.
The European Union should apply pressure on ASEAN to immediately take steps to stop this humanitarian crisis and to initiate rescue operations for the thousands of Rohingyas and Bangladeshis stranded in boats off the coasts of Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Eileen Seymour of Burma Action Ireland said “It is inhumane to push boats crammed with hundreds of people who are already in dire circumstances back out to sea. Pressure must be applied on Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia to bring the refugees to safety.”
The refugees have been at sea for many days, possibly months. Many are starving and some have died. Many of the refugees are believed to Rohingya people, who are, by any standards, one of the most persecuted peoples in the world. The Rohingya have endured decades of discrimination in Burma but this repression has increased in recent years. Attacks against the Rohingya since 2012 have resulted in the displacement of over 140,000 people. It is under these circumstances that many Rohingya undertake such perilous journeys.
EU Foreign Ministers are due to meet on Monday and it is crucial that this crisis is discussed at their meeting.
In the longer term, the EU must start to take action to address the root cause of this crisis, the escalating repression of the Rohingya in Burma.