The European Union has commented on the recent developments in Myanmar where Rohingya refugees from the country’s northwestern Rakhine state are flooding across the border into Bangladesh, fleeing violence, rape and torture. Since the beginning of October, there have been ongoing violent attacks against Border Guard Police posts in northern Rakhine State. The attacks and the ensuing security operations resulted in the killings of both civilians and security staff as well as displacement of thousands of people who had lost their livelihoods. Moreover, regular humanitarian assistance has been disrupted for many weeks, putting at risk over 150.000 vulnerable people.
The EU Special Representative for Human Rights, Stavros Lambrinidis, reiterated the call for the immediate resumption of humanitarian activities and the setting up of an independent and credible investigation into both the attacks and the subsequent actions. Brussels also recently welcomed the announcement by the Government of Myanmar of the establishment of a Commission of Inquiry into the recent violence in Rakhine State and urged its work to be objective and preventive with regards to similar events in the future.
The reports, however, generally indicate a marked deterioration of the human rights situation in northern Rakhine State amidst reported disproportionate use of force by the armed forces, rape and destruction of villages. The EU also said that it was important that those fleeing violence in Myanmar are not deported or turned back. Aung San Suu Kyi and her government has been criticized for not addressing the violence in Rakhine directly in the past month and accused of actually leading a brutal crackdown against the Rohingya Muslim minority. Observers estimate the death toll could be in the hundreds but since the government has banned journalists and human rights monitors from entering the province, the number is difficult to verify.