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Statement of the 3rd European Rohingya Conference

Date: December 30, 2016

Statement of the 3rd European Rohingya Conference

A diverse group of Rohingya activists across Europe met at the third European Rohingya Conference held in Esbjerg, Denmark for days 28-29 December 2016. They discussed the ongoing genocidal persecution of fellow Rohingya people in their own ancestral border region of present-day Burma and Bangladesh. Also discussed are the plight of Rohingya refugees who have risked their lives fleeing sexual violence, summary execution, and other atrocity crimes committed by the Myanmar Government. Conference participants commonly expressed their grave concerns about the situation of the Rohingya in Northern Arakan (or Rakhine), the situation that has gone from bad to worse since the Aung San Suu Kyi government assumed office 8 months ago. 

The following are the resolutions adopted by the conference: 

- Reaffirm our collective desire as the borderland people of Northen Arakan to live in peace with our fellow Buddhist country people, in our ancestral region, and throughout Myanmar, as equal citizens who are entitled to basic respect and rights; 

- Condemn any acts of violence by any groups or individuals; we the overwhelming Rohingya people of Northen Arakan (Rakhine) remain committed to non-violence principles in striving for full and equal citizenship and basic rights in the borderland country of our ancestors – as evidenced in the total absence of any terrorist or militant attacks on civilians either on Myanmar soil or anywhere in the world;

- Reserve our utmost condemnation for Myanmar Government, the main perpetrator of death and destruction against our Rohingya people, for its ongoing scorched-earth military attacks since 9 October, under the pretext of “anti-militant” or “counter-insurgency” operations in Northern Arakan, with the verifiable intention of destroying substantial part of the Rohingya community as an identifiable ethnic group; 

- Further condemn both Myanmar military leadership of Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and the popularly elected Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi who, by her own admission, “cooperates fully” with the genocidal Myanmar military; 

- Condemn atrocity crimes committed against our Rohingya people - as a recognizable form of collective punishment - by Myanmar security forces, including sexual violence, summary executions, arson, hundreds of cases of arbitrary arrest, torture, burning of children alive in house fire, systematic destruction of sources of staple food items, blockage of emergency humanitarian aid, internal displacement of about 40,000 Rohingya villagers, the flight of 34,000 people to Bangladesh, and chasing violently boat-loads of Rohingya families as they attempted to escape the current bout of death and destruction at the hands of Myanmar government troops; 

- Reject categorically the Rakhine Investigation Commission’s findings, which were based on the “oral testimonies” extracted from the terrified Rohingya villagers under duress and hastily carried out in a 2-day visit to selected Rohingya villages. We share the international human rights organization’s dismissal of the Arakan Investigation Commission, headed by military appointed Vice-President and ex-Lt. General Myint Swe, as nothing more than a public relations exercise. In fact, the previous government of Thein Sein formed and conducted its own internal investigation following the first bout of violence in Arakan in June 2012, and we would like to remind the international community that Myanmar Government commissions and their findings have proven to lack any credibility, impartiality or independence; 

- Call attention of the international community to the distorted interviews conducted by the western media for failing to reflect accurately the exact testimonies given in Rohingya and Burmese languages by Rohingya victims of sexual violence and other horrible rights violations by Myanmar Government troops;

- Register our gravest concerns about Myanmar’s blocking humanitarian and essential health services to reach the Rohingya communities in desperate need of both;

- Stress the urgency of lifting severe restrictions on Rohingya villagers, estimated to be over 120,000 - who are on the brink of mass starvation and dying as the result of access to emergency medical services, and suffering curable diseases; 

- Demand the Aung San Suu Kyi government and its military partner to halt all acts of genocide as defined clearly in the 1948 UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide;

- Further demand that the Aung San Suu Kyi government stop the charm diplomatic offensive with ASEAN, allow independent and impartial investigation of the allegations of crimes against humanity, ethnic cleansing and genocide;

- Call on Myanmar State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to come to terms with the fact that Myanmar Tatmadaw, her military partner, are committing international state crimes in violation of human rights and humanitarian law, whatever the exact legal names;

- Express our collective gratitude and appreciation to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak for standing firmly in ending Rohingya genocide;

- Urge the European Union – and its member states - to place its responsibility to end genocide and atrocity crimes against Rohingya before its business interests;

- Appeal to all UN member states to activate the never-before-used principle of “the responsibility to protect” in order to make the slogan “Never Again!” a reality. The decades-long systematic persecution of Rohingya people as an ethnic group, warrants immediate humanitarian intervention in the Northern Arakan (or Rakhine) in order to put an end to the violent operations against the defenceless, vulnerable and unarmed peaceful Rohingya communities and prevent further deaths and destructions; 

- Urge Myanmar’s neighbouring governments to help create Myanmar’s predominantly Rohingya district of Maungdaw closest to Bangladesh border a ‘safe zone’, particularly in the absence of national or domestic protection for them; 

- Call on the Government of Bangladesh to stop sending back forcibly hundreds persecution fleeing Rohingya refugees, including women, children and infants, back to Myanmar, and honour its obligations under international conventions on refugees; and 

- Request earnestly the international community to assist and support the Government of Bangladesh as it attempts to handle the latest influx of Rohingya refugees.

The undersigned organizations adopt the text of the resolution: 

1. Arakan Rohingya National Organisation
2. Bradford Rohingya Community in UK
3. Burmese Rohingya Community in Denmark
4. Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK
5. Rohingya Community in Germany
6. Rohingya Community in Switzerland
7. Rohingya Organisation Norway
8. Rohingya Community in Finland
9. Rohingya Community in Italy
10. Rohingya Community in Sweden
11. Rohingya Society in Netherlands 

For more information please contact: 

Tun Khin +44 7888714866
Nay San Lwin +49 69 26022349

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