A planned Myanmar football tour will link Leeds United to a regime that the UN says is guilty of genocide. Yorkshire-based British Rohingya Community urges LUFC to cancel the tour and instead support the one million refugees this crisis has created.
THIS IS NO GAME. THIS IS WHOLESALE MURDER.
A planned summer football tour to Myanmar by Leeds United, arranged by Club chairman Andrea Radrizzani’s Aser Media Group, ignores the humanitarian crisis that is on-going, both in Myanmar and in neighbouring Bangladesh in what are now the biggest refugee camps in the world.
Almost a million Rohingya people now live as refugees after being stripped of their citizenship and forced from their land in what the UN says is a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” that bears “the hallmarks of genocide”. The UN says this includes “killing by random firing of bullets, use of grenades, shooting at close range, stabbings, beatings to death and the burning of houses with families inside”. This is no game. This is wholesale murder.
As the world’s media reports constantly on this escalating humanitarian crisis and the international community considers further sanctions, a so-called “friendly” tour such as this – where the Club will actually play against the national team – will only be seen as a politically-supportive act that will link Leeds Utd, its players, fans and reputation, to a regime whose crimes have been compared to the atrocities of Bosnia and Rawanda.
“Yorkshire, the home of Leeds, is also home to the largest Rohingya community in Europe,” said British Rohingya Community General Secretary, Nijam Mohammed. “We are Bradford-based and we urge Leeds United to meet with us to better understand the appalling racially-motivated situation in Myanmar and to realise that travelling to this country now to play sport is not appropriate, welcomed or supportive of the million refugees whose only crime is to belong to an ethnic minority. It would be great if LUFC could in some way help these people instead.”
ABOUT THE BRITISH ROHINGYA COMMUNITY
The Bradford-based British Rohingya Community s a non-profit, non-violent and democratic organisation working to exert international pressure to help the stateless and vulnerable Rohingya people while also providing ongoing support in the camps in Bangladesh.
NOTES TO EDITORS
Interviews on why this tour must be stopped are available immediately with BRC members, all of whom were either born in refugee camps in Bangladesh or lived in them for decades before being moved to the UK as part of a UN resettlement program. One of these is a bright and articulate scholarship-winning 18-year-old who is about to study law at a UK university, so he can then work as a human rights lawyer to bring about justice for his people.
For more information, please message @BritishRohingya via twitter or use the website contacts.