15 September 2017
The ITUC has expressed grave concern over the fate of more than 300,000 stateless “Rohingya” people who have fled Myanmar into neighbouring Bangladesh in the face of violent clashes between Myanmar security forces and militants. United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein has described the situation as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing”.
“For decades, the international community stood with those in Myanmar who opposed the military dictatorship, and now that the absolute grip of the military on power has been loosened and political reform is firmly on the agenda, Myanmar must show that it respects international law. The situation of the Rohingya is not new, and it is of the gravest concern that not only has there been no progress, but now hundreds of thousands of people are being forced to flee the country where they have lived, in the most terrible circumstances. These people need urgent humanitarian assistance. While extremism in any form must be condemned, at the same time the Myanmar authorities must show that they respect their international human rights obligations. Right now, all sides need to renounce the use of violence, to ensure that there are no further victims and to enable dialogue to resolve the situation with full respect for the human rights of those concerned,” said ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow.