Conservative MEPs' call for an inter-governmental summit to end the ongoing persecution of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims was backed today by the European Parliament.
Over 600,000 Rohingyas have been forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh and at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in August alone. The crisis has been called a textbook example of ethnic cleansing by the UN's High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Today's resolution follows an extraordinary debate on the crisis in the European Parliament this week which was secured by Conservative MEP Amjad Bashir's impassioned plea to Parliament President Antonio Tajani. Mr Bashir hopes that an inter-governmental conference would guarantee the safe return of the Rohingyas to Myanmar, restore their citizenship rights and set up an inquiry into all allegations of crimes against humanity.
Mr Bashir said: "Inaction is simply unacceptable in the face of such cruel persecution and such human disaster. I am pleased colleagues from across the European Parliament joined Conservative MEPs today in calling for the international community to act to end the ongoing crisis."
"I believe there is now real momentum, a growing international consensus that the world cannot stand by and watch as a whole people are wiped out and driven abroad."
Pope Francis felt unable to even mention the Rohingyas by name in a speech in Myanmar last month as the situation is so delicate. Instead he only referred to the Muslim minority as he encouraged the country to "respect the rights of all who call this land their home".
Conservative MEP Sajjad Karim, who has also campaigned for an end to the persecution of the Rohingyas, said: "For many, many years now Member after Member of the European Parliament have stood in this chamber and highlighted the plight of the Rohingya. It seems that those calls have fallen on deaf ears and today we arrive at a situation where even the Pope cannot go there and call these people by their true identity.
“It is clear that whilst there is much that is being done by the European Union today, unless and until we insist on a regularisation and status for these people, they are going to continually find themselves in this position time after time. I hope today's vote offers the Rohingya a chance and spurs on the international community to act."