The European Parliament has backed an urgency resolution co-sponsored by Lib Dem MEP Phil Bennion calling for Thailand to respect the human rights of Rohingya refugees, who have fled persecution in Burma only to be held in Thai detention camps in appalling conditions.
In negotiating the compromise text, Lib Dem MEPs succeeded in adding a call for action to tackle the appalling conditions suffered by the Rohingya, who are Muslims, in the Thai camps, as recently featured in a shocking documentary aired by Channel Four.
The inserted clause also protests that the Thai government has so far not allowed UNHCR to carry out determinations of the refugee status of Rohingya asylum seekers.
Phil Bennion MEP, a member of the Parliament's South Asia delegation, commented:
"The appalling plight of the Rohingya Muslims from Burma deserves to be given more international attention.
I hope this direct appeal by the European Parliament to the Thai Government will lead to action.
"Much more could be done to improve the appalling and inhumane conditions faced by Rohingya families fleeing persecution in Burma in detention camps in Thailand and also to help those who fled instead to Bangladesh.
"It is high time action is taken by the International Community to address the endless suffering and persecution endured by Rohingya Muslims.
"Burma is emerging from a period of dictatorship but that progress must not be an excuse to turn a blind eye to the increasingly desperate plight of the Rohingya, who have nowhere to turn to.
"All governments in the region must be reminded of the obligation to protect human rights of ethnic and religious minorities."
Paragraph 7 of the adopted Resolution from the European Parliament reads:
'Calls on the Government of Thailand to immediately end the inhumane detention of at least 1700 Rohingya asylum seekers and provide them with access to UN Refugee Agencies; regrets that the Government of Thailand has so far failed to permit the UNHCR to conduct refugee status determination screenings of these Rohingya.'
Text of the European Parliament resolution voted through on the 13th June 2013: (prior to amendment above)
For more information about the channel 4 documentary: