Human rights activists demand Gabriel to make clear statement concerning the Rohingya conflict
Germany’s attempts to appease Burma’s Army Commander-In-Chief are disconcerting (Press Release)
The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) has asked Foreign Minister Gabriel to make a clear statement concerning the Rohingya refugee crisis in Burma. “Sigmar Gabriel must finally condemn the persecution of the Rohingya – or he will add to the impression that the German Federal government is trying to keep up good relations with Burma’s army, despite the serious human rights violations. The Minister must act now. If he doesn’t, this will reinforce doubts about Germany’s commitment to put an end to impunity for crimes against humanity,” explained Ulrich Delius, the STP’s director, in Göttingen on Thursday. “In Burma, a total number of 146,000 people were forced to flee from human rights violations and violence within only 13 days. If Minister Gabriel continues to remain silent about this, he must be asked whether human rights are not an important aspect in the scope of Germany’s foreign policy.”
In April 2017, the world public was surprised that Burma’s Army Commander-In-Chief, General Min Aung Hlaing, paid a visit to Germany. It wasn’t a private visit; Hlaing had been invited by the Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, General Volker Wieker. The Burmese general is considered the most influential representative of the country’s armed forces. The German side had invited Hlaing in order to establish contacts with Burma’s army and to further the democratization process in the country.
Nonetheless, the general’s visit to Germany was seen as controversial, as he is said to be responsible for serious human rights violations against the Rohingya. After armed Rohingya had attacked border guards in November 2016, the army had destroyed dozens of Rohingya villages and committed serious human rights violations against Rohingya civilians. Burma’s army and the government are vehemently denying the human rights violations, but there are satellite images and innumerable witness statements proving that the security forces had used excessive force against the civilian population. Burma’s authorities have still not allowed any UN human rights experts to visit the region to investigate the allegations.
“In the recent Rohingya crisis, since August 2017, General Hlaing is one of the most prominent agitators. He has been accusing the Rohingya of terrorism and of spreading false information – emphasizing that the only way to keep the rest of the country safe would be to start a military intervention,” explained Delius.
Header Photo: SPD Saar via Flickr