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Saturday, 16 November 2019

Why Africa's smallest country is taking on the Rohingya genocide crisis

Source SBS, 13 Nov
The small African nation of the Gambia has filed a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice, formally accusing Myanmar of genocide against its Rohingya Muslims. Myanmar vehemently denies a genocide has taken place.  

It has been over two years since the 'clearance operations' of the Myanmar military forced hundreds of thousands of Rohingya from their homes across the border into neighbouring Bangladesh.

Human rights groups and the UN published myriad reports of mass rapes, killings, and torture on a terrifying scale. The consequential humanitarian crisis in Bangladesh remains a challenge for aid agencies, and survivors of the violence in Myanmar remain vulnerable to ongoing threats in the camps. The situation for the Rohingya still stuck in Myanmar is even worse.

But the international community failed to act on the genocidal acts perpetrated by the military. China and Russia have refused to allow the UN Security Council to hear a briefing on the situation in Myanmar, let alone refer the situation to the International Criminal Court where individual perpetrators could be charged with genocide.

China has longstanding geostrategic interests in Myanmar, including land access to the Bay of Bengal and the country's rich natural resources. Russia's interests are often in never letting the international community stand in the way of a state acting autonomously within its own borders.

In this Monday, Oct. 2, 2017, file photo, newly arrived Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar prepare to leave a transit shelter in Shahparirdwip, Bangladesh.
Newly arrived Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar prepare to leave a transit shelter in Shahparirdwip, Bangladesh, 2017.
AP

Why Gambia?

Myanmar is not a member of the International Criminal Court, so without a referral from the Security Council the only charges that court can pursue relate to forced deportation of Rohingya to Bangladesh.

But before the International Criminal Court was even conceived, in the aftermath of the holocaust the international community agreed that genocide was a crime that was everyone's responsibility to prevent and punish.

It is this treaty, the Genocide Convention of 1948, that has allowed Africa's smallest continental country to take the government of Myanmar to the International Court of Justice for the genocide of the Rohingya.

The Gambia, a majority Muslim country, is bringing the case on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, but the campaign to bring the case has been led by their Minister for Justice, Abubacarr Tambadou who had previously worked on prosecutions for the Rwandan genocide.

When Vice-President Isatou Touray announced to the United Nations General Assembly they would be pursuing the case, she said The Gambia "is a small country with a big voice on matters of human rights on the continent and beyond" explaining that pursuing an ICJ case against the government of Myanmar would be a central pillar of this policy.

The Gambia is returning from a period of political turmoil. The new government has prioritised human rights policies domestically, across Africa and the world. Pursuing a case at the International Court of Justice is deeply connected to this priority and is an expression of good governance and support for international law.

Habiburahman fled Myanmar's Rakhine state in 2000, before coming to Australia by boat.
Habiburahman fled Myanmar's Rakhine state in 2000, before coming to Australia by boat.
SBS News

Upon hearing the news about the case, Refugee Council of Australia Ambassador and Rohingya refugee  Habiburahman (Habib)  said he was relieved.

"It is the first time member states of the United Nations are unitedly standing up against genocide of Rohingya ... I hope one day it will achieve justice for Rohingya people," he said.

There has been an advocacy effort for The Gambian case to be supported by non-Muslim countries as well. In particular, significant efforts were made to get the Canadian government to join the case. But no other country joined The Gambia as co-applicant.

Other countries can still join the case or provide formal interventions to the court, including to ensure the sexual and gender-based violence aspects of the genocide are suitably considered in the case.

What happens now?

A case before the International Court of Justice may take years to play out. But it can have some immediate benefits for Rohingya.

The Gambia has requested the court make provisional measures, which are orders of the court that are binding on the government of Myanmar, including the armed forces. The Gambia asked for such orders to be made to protect Rohingya from ongoing acts of genocide and prevent the destruction of evidence. The court can issue such orders in a matter of weeks.

Because the International Court of Justice is not a court that deals with individual accountability, but state responsibility, no one goes to jail at the end of a case.

What will it achieve?

The focus of this court is about settling a dispute between states about the implementation of a treaty. So, it doesn't have the same approach to victims as other courts. However, the court does have the capacity to award reparations.

The main benefit of such a case is that it recognises the collective harm, rather than just the individual harm of genocidal acts. Genocide is a crime intended to destroy an entire community. The entire Rohingya community has been affected, and a case before the International Court of Justice is the best way to account for that.

For Habib, this case gives some hope of a different future for Myanmar and the Rohingya.

"The military generals have never been prosecuted for their crimes, in the past or the present," he said.

"It is very important for the future that they are held accountable and they change their behaviour. This case will shape democracy and the rule of law in Myanmar."

Friday, 8 November 2019

UN publishes database of companies profiting off human rights abuses – not on Israel, but Myanmar

Source Modoweiss, 7 Oct

In March 2016 the United Nations Human Rights Council mandated a database of companies profiting from Israel's settlements. Originally due in 2017, its publication remains in limbo as the release was delayed several times.  Conversely, a similar database on Myanmar was ordered in September 2018 and completed a year later. 

During the last session of the HRC in September the 110-page report "The economic interests of the Myanmar military" was released. It was researched and written by an independent international fact-finding mission to Myanmar. The document follows a September 2018 report on human rights violations and abuses by the Myanmar military, commissioned by the HRC in 2017. 

The new report lays bare the "business model" or economic infrastructure that enables the Myanmar military to commit human rights violations and abuses. It contains a practical 40-page database, listing all companies fostering direct and indirect business ties with the military. Companies involved in this model – mostly Asian, also European, some others – are named in full; their activities and ties to the military are described in detail. Incidentally, two Israeli firms are mentioned. 

[See page 70 and further. The international section starts on page 96. Two Israeli companies are mentioned on page 107 for deals in October 2016 and April 2017.] 

The thorough report shows what can be achieved in just one year. Even more important, no protests against it were heard.

Not discussed during the September session was the database of companies conducting business or profiting off of Israel's occupation of the Palestinian territory, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights. The HRC had tasked compilation of the database with the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). In January 2018 OHCHR announced it compiled a list of 206 companies, but its publication was stalled for "further research and consideration." OHCHR said at the time that it wanted to contact all of the companies before releasing their names.

Since then 22 months have passed. Pressed to explain yet another delay in March 2019, the High Commissioner, former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, promised to transmit the database to the HRC in the coming months. In other words: in time for the HRC September session. Early September 103 organizations called for its publication, as others already did two years earlier. But Bachelet didn't deliver. 

Early October a coalition including Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and Al-Haq published a joined statement on the unexplained delay, mentioning "consistent reports of political interference by some states," concluding that March 2020 is now the earliest moment for consideration by the HRC – four years after commissioning it. 

The delay is even more significant as the database builds on the conclusions of a fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the human rights of the Palestinian people. The mission found on February 7, 2013, that "business enterprises have, directly and indirectly, enabled, facilitated and profited from the construction and growth of the settlements." That's almost seven years ago. 

Moreover, neither Myanmar nor Israel are the only instances where the UN ordered one of its agencies to produce a catalog of companies profiting from violations of international law. 

This visual highlights the fact that in spite of Israel being one of the countries most regularly condemned by the UN Security Council for violations of international law, it has never faced formal sanctions. (Graph: Visualizing Palestine)

This visual highlights the fact that in spite of Israel being one of the countries most regularly condemned by the UN Security Council for violations of international law, it has never faced formal sanctions. (Graph: Visualizing Palestine)

In October 2002, a year before the end of the Second Congo War, the UN Security Council published a database of companies involved in "illegal exploitation of natural resources and other forms of wealth of the Democratic Republic of the Congo." The database contains 114 companies and 54 individuals and targeted not just the DRC, but also foreign powers holding territory inside the country during the hostilities. 

Returning to Israel, the delay of the database fits into wider practices, most prominently the unexplained delay of an official investigation into possible Israeli war crimes by the International Criminal Court, or the ICC. Next January will mark five years since a preliminary investigation began. It should have led to a conclusion a long time ago but is just dragging on without an end in sight. 

The stalling is similar to the ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's decision to not investigate alleged war crimes in 2010 when Israeli commandos boarded the Mavi Marmara, bound for Gaza, while still in international waters and killing ten passengers during the raid. An activist who was aboard the ship during that attack has accused Bensouda of succumbing to "intervention," "threats," and "pressure" from the U.S., Israel, and an American pro-Israel legal firm. 

Bensouda buried the case at the time but it is now being challenged in an appeal. The affair is the subject of a new book by Norman Finkelstein, titled "I Accuse!," which addresses Bensouda's dealings and the harm she inflicts on the credibility of the ICC.

In more recent years the UN-organization ESCWA was forced to withdraw its authoritative report on Israeli apartheid two days after publication – after accusing Israel of practicing "apartheid" in March 2017. The fact that even UN Secretary-General Guterres got involved in ditching the report – thereby harming a prominent member of his own UN-family and causing the resignation of expert UN-officials – hints at the amount of pressure that was applied on the UN. 

Against this background it's worth remembering the words of Haaretz journalist Barak Ravid, who wrote in September 2017, the U.S. had engaged in "massive pressure" to change the wording of the HRC's resolution calling for a database of companies profiting off of Israel's occupation. He noted there was "Even an attempt by the EU to reach a deal with the Palestinians to drop the clause from the resolution stipulating the blacklist's formulation, in return for the support of European nations for the rest of its articles."

Israel's staunchest defenders claim that Israel is being singled out – and that is correct. Israel and American officials often angrily point to the high number of Security Council-resolutions condemning its violations of international law – only Apartheid South-Africa scored higher –, but what really stands out is its ability to violate them all without ever being sanctioned. No other country enjoyed such indulgence. 

The net result is that Israel can behave as it pleases, shielded at the highest levels, for which the Palestinians pay the price. The institutions that are supposed to guard their rights and lives have become institutional in their oppression. 

With official channels blocked it's now up to the international community to demand justice for the Palestinians. And that's exactly what's happening. A grassroots coalition of some 60 organizations from 14 countries is planning a demonstration at the ICC-offices in The Hague on Friday, November 29 – the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. The coalition wants Bensouda to act, holding Israel accountable for its crimes against the Palestinians without further delay. 

It's hard to think of a more symbolic place and date for a massive outcry demanding justice for Palestine. Organizations and citizens wishing to endorse or join the protest can do so by contacting the coalition (Franceother countries). 

Meet the Australian expats helping ex-Manus Island detainees get a fresh start in Canada

Source SBS
00:00 / 00:41

A group of Australian expats have helped form a network to give refugees previously detained on Manus Island and Nauru a fresh start in Canada under the country's unique private refugee sponsorship program.

Laura Beth Bugg doesn't live in Australia anymore, but the plight of refugees stuck in Australia's offshore processing system hasn't left her mind.

"My family is still in Australia. My friends are still in Australia. I'm Australian – and as an Australian, I feel responsible to do something about this," Ms Bugg told SBS News from Toronto.

Ms Bugg is part of the Canadian branch of Australian Diaspora Steps Up (Ads-Up Canada), a group of Australian expats and Canadian locals helping to resettle refugees from the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres in Canada.

Canada's unique private refugee sponsorship scheme has operated since the 1970s.

The scheme saw Amir Sahragard, a 27-year-old Iranian refugee, arrive in the country last week after almost seven years on Manus Island. 

Any five Canadian citizens or permanent residents can get together and decide whether they want to sponsor a refugee from overseas at a cost of around $18,000 Australian dollars.

Laura Beth Bugg (third from left) at Toronto Airport
Laura Beth Bugg (third from left) at Toronto Airport
Supplied

"When I found out we could sponsor refugees from Manus to come to Canada, I said to my husband: 'we have to be part of this'," Ms Bugg said.

"These people are the most resilient unbelievable human beings. They're nurses, poets and lawyers - they have so much to give.

"It's such a waste of potential to leave them languishing there and not allow them to contribute to Canada."

Ms Bugg was born in the United States but became an Australian citizen after moving to Sydney with her Australian husband in 2006.

She was living in Sydney's inner-west when the Manus Island and Nauru detention centres were reopened in 2012 by Julia Gillard's Labor government.

Ms Bugg said she has a personal connection to the issue.

"My son and my husband would not be here if Australia had not welcomed my husband's grandparents in 1938 [when] they were fleeing the Holocaust," she said.

"They were given a visa to come to Australia. The rest of their family were not given visas to any countries and they perished in camps."

Aiding by crowdfunding campaigns, Ads-Up Canada has put in applications to sponsor 18 refugees currently under Australia's care in offshore detention.

Ms Bugg said fundraising efforts are currently underway for a refugee in Papua New Guinea and a family of four on Nauru.

Laura Beth Bugg (R) welcomes ex-Manus detainee Amir Sahragard at a Toronto airport
Laura Beth Bugg (R) welcomes ex-Manus detainee Amir Sahragard at a Toronto airport
Supplied

'Uniquely positioned'

Sydney-born Juliet Donald is a clinical psychologist now living in Toronto.

She spent the first 30 years of her life in Australia, before moving overseas in 2010 to work for medical charity, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).

She found Ads-Up Canada scrolling through a refugee advocacy group on social media and said she immediately wanted to help.

Sydney-born clinical psychologist Juliet Donald now lives in Toronto
Sydney-born clinical psychologist Juliet Donald now lives in Toronto
Twitter

"As a psychologist, I'd read a lot about the mental health impact of prolonged and infinite detention - and once I found out that here Canada we had the capacity to offer people an opportunity to be safely resettled, I felt like it was an obvious choice to become involved," she said.

"I feel uniquely positioned, here in Canada, to be able to step up as an Australian, to do something very concrete to help these refugees."

Ms Donald said her experience with MSF provided extra incentive to get involved.

"I've worked in a number of countries where these refugees are fleeing from or have had to journey through - Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and Libya, to name a couple.

"When I read these people's stories, naturally, for me, there's an interest point because I've actually worked in those countries. I've spoken to people and heard their stories."

Ads-Up Canada is one of several community-based projects using Canada's private refugee sponsorship scheme.

The Canada Caring Society, based in Ottawa, hopes to settle up to 200 refugees from Nauru and Papua New Guinea.

A Syrian refugee also launched a program called Operation Not Forgotten earlier this year.

Ms Bugg said Canada's private refugee sponsorship scheme is, for some refugees, their "only way out of detention".

The federal government has not accepted New Zealand's offered to resettle 150 refugees under Australia's care, and it's estimated around 330 refugees are ineligible to be resettled under the swap deal with the United States.

"When I was living in Australia I didn't feel like there was a whole lot I could do, beyond protesting and writing letters," Ms Bugg said.

"But this is something tangible that we can do as Australians and Canadians together: Australians can hope us raise money, and then the Australians in Canada can help form these resettlement teams.

"Working together, we can actually help make a difference."

Saturday, 5 October 2019

Myanmar not listening to anyone: Hasina

Source Banglatribune, 30 Sept

Bangladesh now hosts nearly 1.1 million Rohingyas. PIDBangladesh now hosts nearly 1.1 million Rohingyas. PID

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called upon Myanmar to take action to ensure the Rohingyas' safety and security and live-up to previous agreements made with Bangladesh over the return of the refugees.

The premier said this when she was interviewed by Dan Keeler of The Wall Street Journal in New York this week on the sideline of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), reports state-owned agency BSS.

Asked if she would consider forcing the Rohingyas to return to Myanmar, the prime minister told WSJ: "Definitely they should go back to their own country."

But she (Sheikh Hasina) did not suggest Bangladesh would use force to make that happen, the WSJ report said.

She also said the international community seems to be failing in not convincing Myanmar to welcome the refugees back, but added "I cannot blame anybody because Myanmar is not listening to anyone," it continued.

WSJ report quoted her as saying "Bangladesh would continue to host the refugees but that their presence was taking a toll."

"Our land is just 147,000 square kilometres and we have a population of 160 million, so how we can keep these people for a long time? Our local people are suffering, there's a deforestation-a big chunk of our forest in the area where they are living is already gone," she told the newspaper.

The premier laid out a plan to enable the more-than-a-million Rohingya currently taking refuge in her country to return to Myanmar said the WSJ report titled "Bangladesh prime minister urges more cooperation from Myanmar over Rohingya"

Tuesday, 24 September 2019

European Parliament resolution on Myanmar, notably the situation of the Rohingya

Source EUROPARL, 17 Sept

MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION

with request for inclusion in the agenda for a debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law

pursuant to Rule 144 of the Rules of Procedure


on Myanmar, notably the situation of the Rohingya

(2019/2822(RSP))


Anna Fotyga, Karol Karski, Raffaele Fitto, Ruža Tomašić, Jadwiga Wiśniewska, Valdemar Tomaševski, Veronika Vrecionová, Assita Kanko, Jan Zahradil

on behalf of the ECR Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B9-0050/2019
NB: This motion for a resolution is available in the original language only.

B9‑0050/2019

European Parliament resolution on Myanmar, notably the situation of the Rohingya

(2019/2822(RSP))

The European Parliament,

  having regard to its previous resolutions on Myanmar and on the situation of the Rohingya;

 

  having regard to previous Foreign Affairs Council conclusions on the situation in Myanmar;

 

  having regard to statements by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy on the situation in Myanmar;

 

  having regard to the Geneva Convention of 1949 and the additional protocols thereof;

 

  having regard to the International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights of 1966;

 

  having regard to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child of 1989;

 

  having regard to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights of 1948;

 

  having regard to the UN Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance and of Discrimination based on Religion or Belief of 1981;

 

  having regard to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court;

 

  having regard to the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees and the 1967 Protocol thereto;

 

  having regard to the 1954 Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness;

 

  having regard to the Final Report of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State;

 

  having regard to the European Parliament report on Statelessness in South and South East Asia of 13 June 2017;

 

  having regard to the Memorandum of Understanding between Myanmar and Bangladesh on the repatriation of Rohingya people signed on 23 November 2017;

 

  having regard to the Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis issued in March 2018 by the United Nations and partner organisations;

 

  having regard to Rule 144 of its Rules of Procedure;

 

 

  1. whereas Rakhine State in Myanmar has been home to close to 1,3 million Rohingya, a predominantly Muslim minority group facing repression and continued serious human rights violations, including threats to life and security, denial of the rights to health and education, forced labour, sexual violence and limitation of their political rights; whereas the Rohingya are considered one of the largest stateless groups; whereas institutional discrimination against the Rohingya still continues today; whereas the crisis has exacerbated the already dire humanitarian situation in a region which is already considered one of the poorest in the world;

 

  1. whereas since August 2017 more than 900 000 Rohingya, 534 000 of them children, have fled the violence against them and have sought refuge in Bangladesh while fearing for their lives; whereas there is very limited access to healthcare in the refugee camps in Bangladesh;

 

  1. whereas Rohingya children have experienced or witnessed traumatic events, including in many cases the loss of one or both parents, separation from their families, physical abuse, psychological distress, malnutrition, illness, sexual exploitation and witnessing crimes against humanity in Rakhine State, including the systematic burning of homes, physical attacks and rape perpetrated against Rohingya;

 

  1. whereas those living in refugee camps in Bangladesh face a communications blackout after the government ordered a ban on mobile phone services and sim cards in September 2019;

 

  1. whereas on 22 August 2019, alleged Rohingya refugees killed Omar Faruk, a local leader of the ruling Awami League's youth wing in Teknaf; whereas law enforcement officers then killed four Rohingya refugees who they said were involved in the murder; whereas in recent months, more than 40 Rohingya have been killed, amid concerns that some refugees are involved in smuggling illegal drugs to Myanmar;

 

  1. whereas in August 2019 a second attempt to start repatriating Rohingya refugees failed, after none of the 3,450 people approved by Myanmar to return agreed to do so because the refugees believe that the current conditions in Myanmar make their return unsafe;

 

  1. whereas reportedly entire Muslim Rohingya villages in Myanmar have been demolished and replaced by police barracks, government buildings and refugee relocation camps;

 

  1. whereas the absence of any realistic prospect of safe and voluntary return and the lack of political progress in resolving the crisis in Myanmar suggest that this situation will not be resolved in the short term and therefore requires a sustainable approach;

 

  1. whereas the ongoing fighting between the Myanmar military and the Arakan Army has displaced more than 46,000 people in Rakhine and southern Chin States; whereas UN human rights experts have expressed grave concerns about the use of incommunicado detention by the military in Myanmar, along with allegations of torture and ill-treatment and deaths in custody since the outbreak of armed conflict in December 2018 in northern Rakhine and Chin; whereas there is an ongoing disruption of internet services imposed on four townships in Rakhine and Chin States, making it increasingly difficult to document and verify new abuses and monitor the situation of Rohingya who remain in Rakhine State;

 

  1. whereas reports and updates from OHCHR, the UN Special Rapporteur all point to a pattern of gross human rights violations which suggest a widespread and systematic attack against the Rohingya community by the Myanmar military and security forces, possibly amounting to crimes against humanity and in the case of the ongoing fighting against the Arakan Army to war crimes;

 

  1. whereas the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC) affirms that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, in particular genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes, must not go unpunished; whereas in April 2018 the ICC prosecutor asked the court to rule on whether the ICC can exercise jurisdiction over the alleged deportations of Rohingya from Myanmar to Bangladesh; whereas a ruling affirming the ICC's jurisdiction was delivered on 6 September 2018;

 

  1. whereas Myanmar has so far refused to allow a fact-finding mission of the UN Human Rights Council to enter the country, and has barred the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, rejecting nearly all allegations of atrocities committed by its security forces in Rakhine;

 

  1. whereas on 2 September 2019 the European Commission has announced a new humanitarian aid package worth EUR 9 million to address the needs of families affected by violence in Myanmar; whereas this comes on top of the EUR 91 million mobilised in 2017 and 2018; whereas the United States is the leading contributor of humanitarian assistance in response to the Rohingya crisis, providing nearly 542 million USD since the outbreak of violence in August 2017; whereas in March 2018 the UN launched an appeal for USD 951 million to aid the Rohingya refugees for the rest of 2018, but only around 25 % of that target sum has been received to date;

 

  1. whereas on 29 April 2019, the Council prolonged the restrictive measures in place on Myanmar for one year;

 

***

 

  1. Condemns the violence against Rohingya men, women, and children since August 2017, including grievous human rights violations, including mass rapes, targeted killings and the destruction of civilian property;

 

  1. Regrets that two years since the violence against and forced migration of the Rohingya people of Myanmar there appears to be no realistic, sustainable, peaceful solution to the crisis, or for their safe return home, while the circumstances on the ground in Rakhine have deteriorated significantly;

 

  1. Demands that the Myanmar authorities grant immediate and unfettered access to the UN,  independent monitors, international human rights organisations, journalists and other international observers with the aim of conducting independent and impartial investigations in to allegations of serious human rights violations against the Rohingya community;

 

  1. Notes that as a consequence of the violence the presence of up to one million refugees in Bangladesh is placing a significant strain on local resources and communities already contending with their own domestic challenges;

 

  1. Praises the Government and people of Bangladesh for their humanitarian response to the Rohingya crisis, and encourages further international support to those communities hosting the refugees, including in addressing domestic social, educational, economic and healthcare challenges; calls on the Bangladesh government to revoke the ban on mobile phone services in the refugee camps;

 

  1. Further praises the work of the humanitarian aid agencies in supporting the Rohingya community; calls on the Myanmar authorities to grant humanitarian aid organizations sustained and unfettered access to all displaced populations in need of assistance, including those located in armed opposition territory;

 

  1. Reminds the Myanmar authorities that international humanitarian and human rights law prohibits the targeting of individuals or groups based on religious or ethnic identity, as well as attacks against civilians not taking part in hostilities, and individuals bringing humanitarian aid to those trapped by the conflict;

 

  1. Stresses that all efforts must be made to ensure that the conditions are met for a safe, voluntary, dignified and sustainable return of refugees from Bangladesh to Rakhine State;

 

  1. Calls for transparent and verifiable implementation of the full range of recommendations by the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State relating to human rights, including by establishing clear a timeline, specific targets, and indicators of success, identifying necessary financial, human and technical resources and a providing regular public reporting on progress;

 

  1. Raises its concern about the lack of independence, impartiality, and competence of International Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) and calls on Myanmar to cooperate with international efforts to ensure accountability, including by allowing the newly operational Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) access to the country; encourages the relevant UN bodies to move rapidly on operationalisation of this mechanism, that should operate in full recognition of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court and cooperate closely with any investigation by the ICC pertaining to the most serious crimes committed by the military and security forces in Myanmar;

 

  1. Calls on the government of Myanmar to restore full internet access that is critical for freedom of expression, for the population's safety and the work of aid agencies;

 

  1. Urges Aung San Suu Kyi to restore her moral authority and to continue her efforts to build a genuine, transparent democracy in Myanmar, to have effective civilian control over the military, to make peace among the ethnic groups, and to build a country where people's lives steadily improve and where ethnic cleansing is unthinkable; stresses that the democracies, including the countries of the EU, should be prepared to give every assistance in this;

 

  1. Urges a reinvigoration of the Myanmar-EU Human Rights Dialogue to specifically discuss issues relating to the Rohingya community and violence against other minority groups;

 

  1. Welcomes the prolongation of restrictive measures by the Council in place against those responsible for violence and crimes against the Rohingya people where credible evidence supports such measures;

 

  1. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Government and Parliament of Myanmar, Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission/High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, the governments and parliaments of the EU Member States, the Government and Parliament of Bangladesh, the Government and Parliament of Myanmar, the Secretary-General of ASEAN, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and the UN Human Rights Council.