Sinn Féin’s spokesperson on Foreign Affairs, Seán Crowe TD, has said the violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar, carried out by the military and extremist Buddhist militias, is barbaric and clearly ethnic cleansing. Crowe has called on Ireland and the international community to do more to stop this ethnic cleansing, and to offer practical help and humanitarian assistance to Rohingya refugees.

Deputy Seán Crowe said:

“The United Nations has stated that the mass killings, gang rapes and burning of villages by the armed forces of Myanmar likely amount to crimes against humanity and constitutes an attempted ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people.

“While the Rohingya have been brutally repressed in Myanmar for decades all humanitarian organisations in the area agree that the current wave of violence is the worst they have seen so far. The violence has forced more than 270,000 Rohingya refugees into neighbouring Bangladesh in the past two weeks and many believe this latest violence could constitute a final campaign to rid Myanmar of the Rohingya. There have also been accusations that the Myanmar armed forces have been laying landmines along the Bangladesh border to prevent those fleeing from ever returning.

“Sadly the Noble Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Khi, who is the State Councillor and de-facto leader of the Myanmar Government, has failed to condemn this brutal violence and ethnic cleansing. In fact she has attempted to  justify it in statements by saying it is an army operation against ‘terrorists’ and blaming the same  ‘terrorists’ for ‘a huge iceberg of misinformation’.

“The Myanmar Government must stop this violence and the campaign of ethnic cleansing. It also needs to immediately allow UN agencies that have been barred from providing humanitarian aid in the region, to be allowed access to those in need.

“The international community must do more to pressure Myanmar’s Government and hold them to account. I will be raising this issue with Minister Coveney and also urging him to ensure that Ireland provides increased support to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.”