The European Union has called on Myanmar’s government to allow full humanitarian access and end violence in Myanmar’s restive Rakhine state where over 600,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to Bangladesh. The problem is that many in Myanmar see Rohingya as illegal immigrants responsible for terrorism.
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, following talks with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the EU’s top diplomat Federica Mogherini told reporters that Europe urged “stopping the violence, the flow of refugees and guaranteeing full humanitarian access to Rakhine state”.
Mogherini said her talks with Suu Kyi were “extremely encouraging”.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel shared her optimism following his own meeting with Suu Kyi, saying he is confident that Myanmar and Bangladesh will be able to reach a repatriation agreement.
“They want to do everything so that refugees can return,” said Gabriel. “Of course, it’s a question of how secure the region is then and what life prospects can be opened there.”
In her opening remarks at the two-day ASEM meeting, Suu Kyi said that the world is facing conflict and instability in part due to terrorism that is spread by illegal immigration.
Suu Kyi cited “illegal immigration’s spread of terrorism and violent extremism, social disharmony and even the threat of nuclear war” as reasons why the world is in a new period of instability.
According to DW, she directly mentioned the exodus of minority Rohingya Muslims from her country in her speech, but the remarks highlighted the beliefs of many in Myanmar who view the Rohingya as illegal immigrants and blame them for terrorist attacks.
Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, has been internationally criticised for her response to Myanmar’s military crackdown on the Rohingya, with security forces accused of rape, killings, arson and torture.
The United Nations has labelled the crackdown “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” while the army has denied any wrongdoing.