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EU parliament resolution praises Bangladesh over Rohingya issue

DHAKA, Sept 14, 2017 (BSS) - The European Parliament today took a resolution praising Bangladesh for its humane approach in handling surges of fleeing Rohingyas and asked the EU nations to consider slapping a sanction on Myanmar.

"(The EU Parliament) acknowledges the effort by Bangladesh, in the face of this humanitarian catastrophe, to facilitate protection for hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees," read the resolution as the EU parliament session was held at Brussels.

The EU parliament also urged other neighbouring countries to "admit all those fleeing violence in Rakhine State, and to respect the principle of non-refoulement; calls on the (European) Commission and the EU Member States to increase financial and material support for these refugees".

Simultaneously, the resolution suggested the EU Member States to make clear that they stood "ready to consider targeted punitive sanctions against individuals and entities . . . should grave violations in international law continue with impunity".

The AFP from Brussels, meanwhile, reported that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker today condemned the crisis in Myanmar as a "shocking catastrophe", as the European Parliament demanded an immediate end to violence against Rohingya Muslims.

The interventions add to international pressure over the crisis that has sent nearly 400,000 people fleeing to Bangladesh, particularly on Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been pilloried by rights groups for failing to speak up for the Rohingya minority.

"What is happening in Myanmar is a shocking catastrophe really, because once again people are trying to eradicate whole ethnic groups," Juncker said during a question and answer session with a young YouTube star.

Juncker however declined to say whether Suu Kyi should be stripped of the Nobel Peace Prize, an award the EU itself won in 2012.

Euro-MPs meeting in Strasbourg, France, passed a resolution urging Suu Kyi to "condemn unequivocally" all incitement to racial and religious hatred.

The European Parliament resolution "strongly urges the military and security forces to immediately cease the killings, harassment and rape of the Rohingya people, and the burning of their homes".

The crackdown by Myanmar's army, launched in response to attacks by Rohingya militants on August 25, pushed vast numbers of the stateless Muslim minority across the border, triggering a humanitarian crisis.

The UN officials estimated the ongoing atrocities in Myanmar's Rakhine State drove some 400,000 people out to neighbouring Bangladesh while Dhaka said the country was hosting another 400,000 Myanmar refugees before the latest surges of Rohingyas began to arrive since August 25.

The violence has driven a humanitarian crisis on both sides of the border and put intense global pressure on Suu Kyi to condemn the army campaign, which the UN says amounts to "ethnic cleansing".

Chilling accounts have emerged from Rohingya refugees telling of soldiers firing on civilians and razing entire villages in the north of Rakhine state with the help of Buddhist mobs. The army denies the allegations.

"We have put Myanmar on notice that unless the persecution and violence stops, we will take action," British MEP Amjad Bashir said.

Suu Kyi decided to skip the upcoming UN General Assembly as her reputation as a human rights champion has been left battered by her response to the crisis but her office said the de facto Myanmar leader was set to make a speech on the issue next week.

Bangladesh is struggling to provide relief for the huge influx of exhausted and hungry refugees -- some 60 percent of whom are children -- while nearly 30,000 ethnic Rakhine Buddhists as well as Hindus have also been displaced inside Myanmar.

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