Cross-party group of MEPs call for UK to take action in UN Security Council and refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court

14 September 2018

A cross-party group of MEPs have written to the Foreign Secretary asking the UK to pressure the UN Security Council to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court. The letter was signed by 27 MEPs from the Conservative Party, the Labour Party, the Green Party, the Liberal Democrats, Plaid Cymru, the Scottish National Party and an independent MEP. It notes that, as the “penholder” for Myanmar on the UN Security Council, the UK has a unique responsibility to hold the perpetrators of genocide and ethnic cleansing to account. Read the letter below: 


Dear Foreign Secretary,

We are MEPs from different political parties and we are united in asking the UK government to take action at the UN Security Council to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC).

We welcome Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon’s comments at the Security Council briefing on 28 August, especially his emphasis that the Council should take concerted action to push for justice. However, the UK must go further than this. That is why we, as MEPs from different political families, are asking you to take a bold stance on justice and accountability, and to unequivocally call for the referral of Myanmar to the ICC, as recommended by the UN Fact Finding Mission and multiple human rights NGOs.

At the upcoming 39th session of the Human Rights Council, we urge you to work together with other members of the Human Rights Council to create an independent, impartial mechanism to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyse evidence of violations of international humanitarian law and human rights violations and abuses and to prepare files to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings in national, regional or international courts or tribunals.

The recent UN Fact-Finding Mission’s report detailed systematic abuses and violence against the Rohingya dating back to 2011 accused Myanmar’s military leaders of acting with ‘genocidal intent’ in their actions last year. It recommended that they are referred to an investigation by the International Criminal Court, the strongest such condemnation from the UN to date.

Myanmar have repeatedly failed to genuinely prosecute perpetrators of human rights violations and we have no hope in its capacity or willingness to carry to out legitimate proceedings. The international community must take responsibility, and we ask the UK to take the lead. Failing to do so sends a signal that Myanmar can enjoy impunity and continue to commit these atrocities against the Rohingya and ethnic minorities in northern Myanmar.

As you will be aware, a criminal investigation into the full scope of the violence against the Rohingya and against ethnic minorities in northern Myanmar is not possible unless the UN Security Council refers them to the ICC.

We welcome the recent ruling that the ICC may exercise jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh, but we recognise that a referral from the UNSC for the full scope of human rights violations is still needed. As the official-penholder on Myanmar issues at the UN, it is up to the UK government to lead that process.

We cannot wait any longer, we must take a united stand. The UK, as a champion of human rights worldwide, must take this step to bring justice to the perpetrators of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Yours sincerely,

Wajid Khan, Labour Party MEP

Jude Kirton-Darling, Labour Party MEP

Lucy Anderson, Labour Party MEP

Rory Palmer, Labour Party MEP

David Martin, Labour Party MEP

Alex Mayer, Labour Party MEP

Richard Corbett, Labour Party MEP

Julie Ward, Labour Party MEP

Derek Vaughan, Labour Party MEP

Paul Brannen, Labour Party MEP

Mary Honeyball, Labour Party MEP

Theresa Griffin, Labour Party MEP

Siôn Simon, Labour Party MEP

Claude Moraes, Labour Party MEP

Clare Moody, Labour Party MEP

John Howarth, Labour Party MEP

Jean Lambert, Green Party MEP

Molly Scott Cato, Green Party MEP

Keith Taylor, Green Party MEP

Alyn Smith, Scottish National Party MEP

Ian Hudghton, Scottish National Party MEP

Charles Tannock, Conservative Party MEP

Nirj Deva, Conservative Party MEP

Baroness Nosheena Mobarik CBE, Conservative Party MEP

Jill Evans, Plaid Cymru MEP

Catherine Bearder, Liberal Democrats MEP

James Carver MEP, Independent

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