European Parliament calls for probe into mass graves of migrants (The Financial Express (Bangladesh))

The European Parliament has expressed its deep concern over the plight of Rohingya refugees and demanded credible investigation into the mass graves of migrants recently found in a jungle camp in southern Thailand.

Lawmakers of the parliament also asked the Myanmar government to end the persecution of the Rohingya minority and called on the EU High Representative to address this issue ‘at the highest possible political level’ in her contacts with Thailand and Burma, old name of Myanmar.

A resolution, adopted by the European Parliament following a show of hands of the lawmakers on May 21, called upon countries of the region to strengthen cooperation on counter-smuggling measures and to provide Rohingya asylum- seekers ‘at least with temporary protection’.

The parliamentarians also urged the leaders of Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand to save lives of refugees stranded on vessels in the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman Sea on a priority basis.

The issue of human trafficking came to the spotlight globally early this month following recovery of mass graves of suspected Myanmar and Bangladeshi migrants who are believed to have entered Thailand on boats illegally through the Bay of Bengal en route to Malaysia in search of jobs.

Various countries and global bodies like the United States, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Human Rights Watch (HRW) and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) expressed their serious concerns over the developments on human trafficking.

They called upon countries in the south-eastern Asia to work together in taking proactive steps quickly to save the lives of migrants and asylum seekers now at sea and refrain from turning away any new boat arrivals.

Blaming Myanmar for its policy towards its Rohingya minority as racially and religiously-motivated discrimination, they also urged the government of the country and international community to provide humanitarian assistance to the victims.