Saj calls for Rohingya to be given official citizenship

Sajjad Karim MEP today urged the EU to push for the Rohingya be given official status as Burmese citizens.

In a speech during the European Parliament’s December plenary session in Strasbourg, Mr Karim said that if the situation of the Rohingya was ever to be resolved, then citizenship for the displaced people was key to the solving the problem, also using the Pope’s recent visit to Myanmar - where he was prohibited from using the name ‘Rohingya’ - to highlight the extent of the problem.

Addressing the Parliament, Mr Karim said:

“For many, many years now Member after Member of the European Parliament have stood in this chamber and highlighted the plight of the Rohingya. It seems that those calls have fallen on deaf ears and today we arrive at a situation where even the Pope cannot go there and call these people by their true identity.

“It is clear that whilst there is much that is being done by the European Union today, unless and until we insist on a regularisation and status for these people, they are going to continually find themselves in this position time after time.”

The British MEP also insisted - after previous calls - for a review of the suitability of Aung San Suu Kyi to maintain her status as a Sakharov Prize holder.

He expressed his concern regarding the appropriateness of Myanmar’s premier - Aung San - holding on to her award for her human rights record, following her inaction on and denial of the persecution of Rohingya Muslims in Burma.

Speaking in the Parliament, Mr Karim said:

“Madam representative [EU High Representative Federica Mogherini], when you speak about Aung San Suu Kyi - and I hear from many that there is a willingness from her to cooperate with us - the fact of the matter is this, that somebody who holds a prize given by this house - the home of human rights; the Sakharov Prize - if she finds herself unable to speak for her own people, then this house must review its relationship with her.

“Silence is no longer an option. It is not good enough, it must stop, she must speak out now.”

For the past 12 years, Mr Karim has been one of the most active Members of the European Parliament in raising the issue of Rohingya Muslims, including through various resolutions, parliamentary questions and has previously appealed for the European Parliament President, Antonio Tajani, to review Aung San Suu Kyi’s award back in September 2017, as well as writing to Representative Mogherini asking what steps the European Commission intends to take to help the Rohingya.


  1. The letter attached was written to Commissioner Mogherini on Sep 8th 2017.
  2. Video link is of Sajjad Karim MEP’s plenary speech from Dec 12th 2017:-