Call for Jeremy Hunt to show human rights leadership on Myanmar visit

By agency reporter
September 17, 2018

Speaking ahead of the Foreign Secretary’s visit to Myanmar, Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said: “This visit represents a chance for the UK to show its commitment to human rights on a global stage. Jeremy Hunt needs to make the very most of this critical opportunity.

“Since October 2016, the Myanmar security forces have driven more than 800,000 Rohingya women, men and children into Bangladesh with violent crackdowns across northern Rakhine state. I have seen the consequences first hand. They have killed thousands, raped hundreds and burned several hundred villages to the ground.

“The Rohingya people that remain live under a state-sponsored policy of systematic discrimination and segregation. Those responsible for these atrocities must be held to account. And Jeremy Hunt can make a difference.

“A few weeks ago a United Nations fact-finding mission concluded that Myanmar should be referred to the International Criminal Court for these crimes. To date the British government has failed to back this call.

“The Foreign Secretary must not shy away from voicing the UK’s support for Myanmar to be referred to the ICC. Additionally, he must do all he can to ensure the UN Human Rights Council sets up an independent investigation.

“This is a crucial opportunity for the Foreign Secretary to show true human rights leadership. Failure to do so will set a dangerous precedent for the UK’s future foreign policy. He should also directly raise the case of the two Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo with the Burmese authorities.

“The two men were convicted under a draconian, colonial-era law that was deliberately misused to halt their investigations into the appalling atrocities that took place in Rakhine State.

“From start to finish, the case was nothing more than a brazen attack on freedom of expression and independent journalism in Myanmar. They should be released immediately.”

* Amnesty International


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