Asiatica Association

The new European Parliament resolution on the situation of Burmese refugees

13 feb 2009

On February, 5 2009 the European Parliament has issued a new resolution on the situation of Burmese refugees in Thailand and has strongly condemned the continuous persecution of the Rohingya people, a major Muslim ethnic group of the Northern Rakhine State of Western Burma, by the Burmese Government, which holds prime responsibility for the plight of the refugees.

It demands the restoration of the Burmese citizenship of the Rohingya people, the immediate lifting of all restrictions on their freedom of movement and their right to be educated and marry, the cessation of religious persecution and the destruction of mosques and other places of worship, and an end to all human rights violations across the country as well as deliberate impoverishment, arbitrary taxation and land confiscation.

We recall that around 1 000 Rohingya boat people from Burma were intercepted by the navy in Thai territorial waters between 18 and 30 December 2008 and were subsequently towed into international waters without navigational equipment or sufficient food and water; whereas many of those boat people are missing and feared drowned while some of them were rescued by Indonesian or Indian coastguards.

The Rohingya people are subjected to systematic, persistent and widespread human rights violations by the ruling military regime, including refusing them the status of citizenship, imposing severe restrictions on their freedom of movement, and subjecting them to arbitrary arrest.

In recent years thousands of Burmese have fled from their home country because of the repression and wide-spread hunger and risked their lives to arrive in Thailand and other south-east Asian countries.