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Myanmar/Australia: Forced starvation of Rohingya highlights danger of premature returns

Amnesty International Australia was appalled to see the timid ‘diplospeak’ as laid bare in the FOI documents obtained by Guardian Australia. This confirms that not only is Australia intent on continuing its ties with the Myanmar military, but it is employing a sickening softly softly approach despite the horror being inflicted on the Rohingya people. With Australia about to host ASEAN in Sydney, the time for diplospeak is over.” – Amnesty International Australia’s Crisis Campaigns Coordinator Diana Sayed

Reacting to the UN’s claim that Myanmar is continuing its campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya including through “forced starvation”, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director of Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

“The UN’s findings sadly echo our own – there is no question that the Myanmar authorities’ vicious campaign of ethnic cleansing against Rohingya is still ongoing. Fleeing Rohingya told us how they are still being forcibly starved in a bid to quietly squeeze them out of the country.

“This is yet more evidence that any plans for organised repatriation of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh are extremely premature. No one should be returned to Myanmar until they can do so voluntarily, in safety and dignity – something that is clearly not possible today.

“The Myanmar authorities must end all operations aimed at forcing Rohingya out of their homeland, whether at gunpoint or through starvation. It is also high time the international community took meaningful action, including by imposing an arms embargo and targeted sanctions.”

This news comes on the heels of confirmation that the Australian Government intends to continue its support of the Myanmar military. Amnesty International Australia’s Crisis Campaigns Coordinator Diana Sayed said,

“Amnesty International Australia was appalled to see the timid ‘diplospeak’ as laid bare in the FOI documents obtained by Guardian Australia. This confirms that not only is Australia intent on continuing its ties with the Myanmar military, but it is employing a sickening softly softly approach despite the horror being inflicted on the Rohingya people. With Australia about to host ASEAN in Sydney, the time for diplospeak is over.”

Background

On 7 February 2018, Amnesty International published a briefing that showed how the ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya was still ongoing. It detailed how authorities were withholding food, engaging in systematic theft and subjecting women and girls to sexual violence. The full briefing is available here.

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Australia: pressure Myanmar to end the Rohingya slaughter

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