The European Union has announced suspension of invitations to Myanmar military chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and other top military commanders of the country.
The announcement comes in response to the brutal operation against Rohingya Muslims, which has driven over half a million people to flee Rakhine State into Bangladesh, according to conclusions of a meeting of the European Council of the EU in Luxemburg on Sunday.
A media release from the EU has described the operation as ‘disproportionate use of force’ carried out by the security forces’.
It says EU and its member states will also review all practical defence cooperation with Myanmar, which launched the army operation in response to insurgent attacks on security forces on Aug 25.
The EU also confirms the relevance of the current EU restrictive measures, which consist of an embargo on arms and on equipment that can be used for internal repression.
The Council may consider ‘additional measures’ if the situation does not improve ‘but also stands ready’ to respond accordingly to ‘positive developments’, according to the release.
“The humanitarian and human rights situation in Rakhine State is extremely serious. There are deeply worrying reports of continuing arson and violence against people and serious human rights violations, including indiscriminate firing of weapons, the presence of landmines and sexual and gender based violence,” it says.
“This is not acceptable and must end immediately.”
The EU urged the Myanmar military to end its operations and to ensure the protection of all civilians without discrimination and to fully observe international human rights law.
The 28-nation block reiterated its call on the Myanmar government to take measures to defuse tensions between communities, and grant humanitarian access to the violence-torn areas.
It also urged Myanmar to establish a credible and practical process to enable the ‘safe, voluntary, dignified, and sustainable’ return of all the Rohingya refugees.
It appreciated the constructive role played by Bangladesh in sheltering the Rohingyas under difficult circumstances.