The European Union has extended a ban on selling arms to Myanmar and prolonged sanctions against high-ranking officials over their role in the Rohingya crisis.
The measures, which include an embargo on weapons and other equipment that could be used for repression, will stay in place until at least April 30, 2020.
“The sanctions includes an embargo on arms and equipment that can be used for internal repression, an export ban on dual-use goods for use by the military and border guard police, and export restrictions on equipment for monitoring communications that might be used for internal repression,” the EU said in a statement.
About 14 top military and border officials are under individual EU sanctions – barring them from travelling to or through the European bloc and freezing any assets they hold in Europe – over alleged human rights violations, including killings and sexual violence.
It also recalled that it had last adopted conclusions on Myanmar in December 2018 and called on the government of Myanmar to take “meaningful action” without further delay and to make progress in all areas of concern set out in the council’s previous conclusions of February 2018.
The EU also refuses to cooperate with, or provide training to, the Myanmar military.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
In August 2017, almost 750,000 Rohingya refugees fled a military crackdown in northern Myanmar to cross into Bangladesh, where 300,000 members of the persecuted Muslim minority were already in camps.
Many Rohingya refugees said there had been mass rapes and slaughters, and UN officials have said the crackdown needs a genocide investigation.
Since August 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the report, titled “Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience”.
Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.
The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings – including of infants and young children – and brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces.
In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity and genocidal intent.
(Source: Al Jazeera)