300,000 Rohingya refugees – the world must act!

Security Council should call a special session – more pressure on Burma’s government needed! (Press Release)

With 300,000 new refugees in only 15 days, the Rohingya conflict is one of the worst humanitarian crises of this Millennium. Photo: European Commission DG ECHO via Flickr

The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) demands the World Security Council to call a special session on the Rohingya crisis. “The number of refugees is increasing rapidly, and Southeast Asia is in turmoil because of the Rohingya refugee crisis. The international community must act immediately to prevent an even greater exodus of the Rohingya from Burma,” explained Ulrich Delius, the STP’s director, in Göttingen on Sunday. “Now, the World Security Council should agree on more than just appeals to the conflicting parties. They must demand Burma’s government to immediately develop a credible political solution to the conflict, and to stop the repressive measures against the civilian population. With 300,000 new refugees in only 15 days, the Rohingya conflict is one of the worst humanitarian crises of this Millennium.”

The human rights organization also called for an end to impunity in Burma/Myanmar. “Those who are responsible for the excessive violence against the civilian population must be held accountable – regardless of whether the victims are the Muslim Rohingya, the Hindus, or the Buddhist Rakhine. If Burma’s jurisdiction is not able or willing, the World Security Council must call on the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to initiate preliminary investigations.”

The Burmese authorities have been denying UN human rights experts access to the area for months, despite a mandate issued by the UN Human Rights Council. The experts are supposed to investigate the extent and the background of the violence against the Rohingya in Rakhine state. The civilian population has been suffering from massive attacks by Burma’s armed forces after armed Rohingya fighters had attacked several border posts in October 2016. Burma’s army – under General Commander General Min Aung Hlaing – is still to be seen as mainly responsible for the violence.

“Because of the ongoing impunity, we fear that there will be even more violence – and even more Rohingya refugees. Initiatives to put an end to impunity and to build trust are not an unnecessary luxury, but a basic precondition to get a grip on the refugee crisis,” Delius stated.

On August 30, 2017, the United Nations Security Council had already addressed the escalation of the Rohingya conflict – at the request of Great Britain. The only result had been a bland appeal to the conflict parties. Now, however, many governments in South Asia are demanding the United Nations to take a more decisive approach.

Headerphoto: European Commission DG ECHO via Flickr