Myanmar: NPWJ strongly condemns escalation in violence against Rohingya in Western Rakhine State

Brussels-Rome, 6 September 2017

An army crackdown triggered by an attack on 25 August allegedly carried out by fighters from a small militant group, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), on State security forces in Myanmar has led to the killing of at least 400 people. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, more than 120,000 Rohingya have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, which is already home to about 400,000 Rohingya refugees who have left in recent years. UN aid agencies continue to be blocked from delivering food, water and medicine to the Rohingya, while humanitarian workers on the ground say warehouses stocking vital emergency supplies are being looted. Since 1982, after the denial of Rohingya citizenship in Myanmar (former Burma), the Rohingya are a stateless Muslim minority that has seen their basic rights denied, living in poor conditions in relief camps and subjected to harsh military campaigns.
Statement by Alison Smith, Director of the International Criminal Justice Program of No Peace Without Justice:
“No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) strongly condemns the new spiral of brutal violence faced by the long-persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar and calls for urgent international action to halt the abuses taking place there.
“We also urge the Myanmar authorities to take immediate action to ensure protection of all communities in the State, including stopping military abuses targeting the Rohingya, to ensure accountability for human rights violations and to allow full and unfettered humanitarian assistance to people in need.
“Crucially, the Myanmar authorities should address the long-standing and systematic discrimination and segregation the Rohingya community and other Muslims in Rakhine have suffered for decades. As a first step, authorities must move swiftly to implement recommendations outlined in the recent report by the Kofi Annan-led Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, which includes amending the country’s discriminatory citizenship laws.
“We look forward Aun Suung Ki fulfilling the promise she represented as a champion of human rights and democracy, for which she was awarded the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize. It is way past time for her to break her silence and use her leadership to lead Myanmar away from the increasingly bitter and violent cycle of deprivation and abuse in which the Rohingya community has been trapped”.
For further information, please contact Alison Smith on, or Nicola Giovannini (Press & Public Affairs Coordinator) on or +32-2-548-3915.