'EU can target Myanmar economic firms to hurt army'

By Serife Cetin

BRUSSELS (AA) – The European Union can target Myanmar’s companies to hurt its army, a prominent human rights activist said.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency in an exclusive interview, Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) Executive Director Kyaw Win said the Myanmar army is "not only targeting Arakan Muslims, but also Christian Kachin, Shan and other ethnic minorities for a mass genocide."

Win said an "urgent" approach was needed to stop the Myanmar army, adding that "the genocide has not stopped yet, it continues."

"In Arakan [Rakhine] State, 500,000 Arakan Muslims are trapped. These people are being attacked on a daily basis," Win said.

The director also said the army progressively kills those trapped, while thousands of children are in vital danger due to malnutrition.

Win said the BHRN will have talks with EU member state officials — including from the U.K. — in Brussels, where they will voice several demands.

"First of all, the EU should give up taking symbolic steps," Win said, highlighting that some EU member states are in attempts to exchange weapons with the Myanmar army, despite the embargo in the country.

Win said the army in Myanmar controls the economic and industrial activities in the country with two companies: "Myanmar Economic Cooperation" and "Union of Myanmar Economic Holdings".

He said the army can make deals with Russia and China through those companies.

"The EU can target those companies and harm the army in Myanmar deeply, so that they can put a pressure to trial those who commit genocide," Win said, adding that the BHRN will ask the EU to file suit at the International Criminal Court (ICC).

– 'Turkey relentlessly helping Muslims in Arakan'

An activist from Rakhine State, who chose to remain anonymous due to security reasons, said Turkey is "relentlessly helping Muslims in Arakan."

Because of Turkey's current role in Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Arakan Muslims can gather more support from the international community, the activist said.

"Especially Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency (TIKA) is making wonderful work without any discrimination," the activist added.

"All we want is justice. We do not seek revenge. We want the criminals to be found and take our rights back," the activist said.

The activist added, "The EU supports democratic process but they must not ignore mass killings."

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.