Amnesty has said Leeds United’s decision to tour Myanmar is ‘odd’ and has called on the club to speak out about the plight of the Rohingya.
The club announced today that it would head to the country on a post-season tour despite an ongoing military crackdown in the country.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against “all but essential travel” in some areas of the country, which is also known as Burma.
Responding to the club’s announcement, Kate Allen, Director of Amnesty International UK, said: “It certainly seems like an odd choice of country to choose to tour.
“The last year has seen the human rights situation in Myanmar deteriorate dramatically.
“Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled crimes against humanity in Rakhine State to neighbouring Bangladesh; those who remain continue to live under a system amounting to apartheid.
“The Myanmar authorities have continued the brutal crackdown despite a global outcry.
“Far too often sporting events have been used as a cheap PR tool to ‘sportswash’ the stain of a country’s human rights record.
“We’re not going to tell Leeds United where they should and shouldn’t visit, but if the tour does go ahead, the club should use its leverage to call for an end to the crackdown and raise with the Burmese authorities the plight of the hundreds of thousands of families who have been brutalised and forced to flee their homes.”