MEP Paet demands release of Reuters journalists imprisoned in Myanmar

Estonian MEP Urmas Paet (Reform/ALDE) has submitted an urgent resolution proposal in the European Parliament that demands the authorities of Myanmar release Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, two Reuters reporters currently imprisoned in Myanmar.

The journalists were arrested on 12 December 2017 for covering the crimes of the Myanmar Army against the Rohingya minority, Paet told BNS on Tuesday.

"The arrest and seven-year imprisonment of the Reuters reporters is beyond any sense of justice,"Paet said. "They were jailed under great international attention because they were the first to cover the crimes of theMyanmar Army against theRohingya."

The European Parliament will vote on the resolution on Thursday.

Paet has also proposed to the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) group to nominate Wai Wai Nu, an activist fighting for the rights of theRohingya people, as the group's official candidate for the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, commonly known as the Sakharov Prize.

Wai Wai Nu was born in 1987 into a Rohingya family. Among other things, she has helped convinced theUnited Nations to carry out an information gathering mission in Myanmar and has founded two NGOs, one of which is focused on peacekeeping in Myanmar and the other deals with providing legal aid to women. In 2017, she was named one of Time magazine's Next Generation Leaders.

"Those fighting for the rights of theRohingya people need international support, as well as our support,"Paet said. "The authorities of Myanmar have carried out genocide against the Rohingya, as a result of which over one million people have fled to the neighbouring country of Bangladesh and live there in poor conditions at a refugee camp. Recognizing the work of Wai Wai Nu with the Sakharov Prize would help inform the international public of the difficult situation of the Rohingya."

The organisers of the genocide against the Rohingya people must be taken to the International Criminal Court and the Rohingya people must be provided with the opportunity of and safety for returning to their home region, said the MEP.

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