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Jean Lambert London's Green MEP

MEPs slam human rights abuses in Burma

LONDON’S Green MEP Jean Lambert has called for future trade with Burma to be limited unless the South-East Asian country protects Muslims living there.

Her comments came as MEPs rebuked the state for the ongoing persecution of and violence against its Rohingya minority which has seen 46 killed and 14,000 people displaced since March alone. More have joined the thousands displaced in earlier crackdowns and now in Thailand and especially Bangladesh.

Violent attacks against the Muslim Rohingya people – which began in Rakhine province but have now spread across the country – have included rape, torture, destruction of property and places of worship as well as official long-standing restrictions on freedom of movement, marriage rights and freedom of education.

The Burmese Government is now considering a policy of limiting Rohingya women to having a maximum of two children, in what human rights organisations have called a policy of ethnic cleansing .

Ms Lambert, Chair of the European Parliament’s Delegation to South Asia, said:

“Human Rights Watch has called the Burmese Government’s actions towards the Rohingya people a ‘crime against humanity’.

“MEPs have today agreed: we condemn all violations of human rights and express our deepest condolence to all those affected by the violence and ongoing persecution.

“We call on the Burmese Government to do all it can to protect the Rohingya population from organised violence, to allow aid workers, diplomats and journalists unhindered access to all parts of the country, and to amend its law so all religious and ethnic minorities living in the country are granted full citizenship before elections next year.

“The EU allows Burma access to some EU markets through a scheme known as the ‘Generalised System of Preference’ – this must be conditional on an end to all abuses of fundamental freedoms and human rights, against the Rohingya population or more generally.”