Demand Action on the Rohingya Genocide
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In August 2017, Myanmar began a campaign to systematically kill and drive out the Rohingya Muslim minority in the country. The military executed men, women and children, raped women and girls, burned villages, and pushed hundreds of thousands of surviving Rohingya across the border into Bangladesh. The large-scale and premeditated slaughter amounted to Genocide, and the Rohingya that were able to make it to Bangladesh have been forced to live in what is now the largest refugee camp network in the world.
The United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar concluded that “The ‘clearance operations’ constituted a human rights catastrophe.” According to the report, at least 392 villages were totally or partially destroyed, representing 40 percent of all the settlements in northern Rakhine State. The operations were distinctive for the targeting of civilians, the widespread use of sexual violence and rape as a weapon, and the physical and permanent destruction of Rohingya homes, villages and places of worship.
After reviewing all the available information and facts, the Mission concluded that there was enough information to warrant the investigation and prosecution of senior officials for Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and War Crimes.
In the face of overwhelming evidence of international crimes, the United States government has taken completely insufficient action. Strong action from the United States will signal to other countries that there is a need to do more, and will lead to accountability and the prevention of future attacks.
Immediate first steps towards credible action should include:
Release the Reports: The State Department spent $1.4 million on an exhaustive study to determine the scope of the violence that took place in Myanmar. So far Secretary of State Pompeo has prevented the release of that report, as well as a memo that determines that Crimes Against Humanity were committed against the Rohingya in Myanmar. Congress should demand the release of these documents, and the State Department should immediately make them publicly available.
Enact Targeted Sanctions: Civil society organizations and investigators have identified over 20 Myanmar military officials, including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, who are responsible for planning, ordering, and carrying out the Genocide against the Rohingya. The United States government has the authority to enact targeted sanctions against these perpetrators, and they should do so right away.
Fund Humanitarian Relief: Until Myanmar institutes serious reforms that would allow the Rohingya to safely and voluntarily return to their homes, they will likely remain displaced in refugee camps in Bangladesh. Conditions in these camps—currently home to over a million Rohingya—are desperate. Additional funding from the United States will ensure that the Rohingya have adequate access to health services, food and sanitation, and education.
Join us in Calling on Congress and the Administration to Adopt a Policy that Adequately Responds to Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity, and War Crimes in Myanmar.
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