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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

British lawmakers call for referral of Myanmar’s military leaders to ICC

Over 100 parliamentarians have signed a letter urging the government to back a UN Security Council referral of the head of the Myanmar army to the International Criminal Court

In this image provided by Ministry of Information, Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, left, speaks with Myanmar's Foreign Minster Aung San Suu Kyi during their meeting at Foreign Ministry Office in February in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. Ministry of Information via AP
In this image provided by Ministry of Information, Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, left, speaks with Myanmar's Foreign Minster Aung San Suu Kyi during their meeting at Foreign Ministry Office in February in Naypyitaw, Myanmar. Ministry of Information via AP

British lawmakers have called on UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson to back a campaign to refer Myanmar’s military leaders to the International Criminal Court.

Over 100 parliamentarians have signed a letter urging the government to back a UN Security Council referral of the head of the Myanmar army General Min Aung Hlaing for crimes committed against the Rohingya people.

Since the Myanmar military began their offensive in August 2017, more than 680,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh, according to a report by the United Nations.

The UN’s High Commissioner for Human Rights has accused the military of carrying out an ethnic cleansing of the area. According to charity Médecins Sans Frontières, 7,000 Rohingya were killed in one month, 730 of whom were children.

The UK has given £59 million (Dh302m) in aid since the violence broke out, while British Prime Minister Theresa May has been one of the most vocal global leaders in condemning the Myanmar authorities for their role in the crisis.

For his part, Mr Johnson visited Myanmar and the ravaged Rakhine state earlier this month to press the country’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi on allowing Rohingya refugees to safely return to their homes.

However, the letter called for the UK to lead the way in pressing for prosecution.

“The demands of the UN Security Council have largely been ignored. Now it is time to go further,” the statement read.

“It is time for the British government to unequivocally state that the situation in Myanmar should be referred to the International Criminal Court”

“The British government should also work to secure agreement that the European Union bans the supply of all equipment to the Myanmar military, not just arms, and ends all military training and cooperation programmes.”