U.S. Holocaust Museum, State Dept. contractor join Jewish World Watch in calling Rohingya crisis genocide
Ann Strimov Durbin is a human rights attorney and the Director of Advocacy and Grantmaking at Jewish World Watch.
Jewish World Watch was one of the first organizations to officially call the Tatmadaw’s (Burmese military) persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority a de jure genocide. Since JWW made its genocide designation, numerous entities have followed suit, including the UN fact-finding mission. Although individual lawmakers have taken the brave step of using the “g” word, the State Department and Trump Administration have remained mum on the issue, instead falling back on the ambiguous term “ethnic cleansing,” which has no basis in international law, or deeming the atrocities a “well-planned and coordinated” campaign.
Yesterday, one of the contractors the State Department hired to conduct its Rohingya analysis released a report stating there was a reasonable basis to conclude that the Myanmar military committed crimes against humanity and war crimes, as well as genocide. Public International Law and Policy Group (PILPG) based its report on more than 1,000 interviews conducted in March and April with Rohingya refugees who fled to Bangladesh. So, the State Department was essentially handed evidence supporting genocide by a group it personally hired and decided to ignore those findings completely.
There are no more excuses. The U.S. must step up, call a spade a spade, and take the lead in ensuring the safe and voluntary return of the Rohingya to a homeland that acknowledges their citizenship and upholds their rights. Luckily, a resolution putting heavy pressure on the State Department and Trump Administration is in the pipeline.
H.Res. 1091 is coming up for vote this week. It acknowledges the plight of the Rohingya for what it indisputably is: a genocide. In addition to calling for the immediate release of wrongfully convicted Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, the resolution calls upon Pompeo to “put the full force of United States diplomacy behind an effort to refer the atrocities against the Rohingya to the appropriate international mechanisms for prosecution.” It also directs the President to impose additional sanctions on senior members of the Burmese military and security forces, the masterminds of the genocide, including Tatmadaw Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hliang.
Passage of this resolution will send a clear message to Secretary Pompeo and the Trump Administration that the American people want to hold the perpetrators of the Rohingya genocide to account for the full breadth of their crimes. Comprehensive sanctions must be imposed on all Tatmadaw members, government security forces, and Buddhist extremists with command responsibility, as well as the many businesses owned by these architects of violence, businesses run by the military, and businesses owned and operated by the family members of those responsible for orchestrating genocide.
Please contact your Representative immediately and ask them to vote YES on H.R. Res. 1091. Help send a powerful message to our government to step up its response to this ongoing genocide by drawing upon the full panoply of its diplomatic tools. It is imperative that the United States push Myanmar to not only guarantee safe and voluntary returns, but also to hold perpetrators accountable, and begin the difficult process of reversing the dangerous laws and policies that have allowed for religious nationalism to take on such a terrifying form.
Who says it’s a genocide?
Organizations and experts
Jewish World Watch
United Nations Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar
United States Holocaust Memorial Museum
Public International Law and Policy Group
Yale Human Rights Clinic
Beth van Schaak, Stanford University
American Jewish World Service
David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression
Azeem Ibrahim, Center for Global Policy
International State Crime Initiative
Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Jewish Rohingya Justice Network
Burmese American Muslim Association
Kate Cronin-Furman, University College London
Burmese Rohingya Organization U.K.
International Campaign for the Rohingya
Members of the House
Steve Chabot (R-OH-1)
Eliot Engel (D-NY-16)
Ed Royce (R-CA-39)
Adam B. Schiff (D-CA-28)
Brad Sherman (D-CA-30)
Barbara Comstock (R-VA-10)
Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-8)
Ed Markey (D-Mass.)
Joe Wilson (R-SC-2)
Joseph Crowley (D-NY-14)
Lynn Jenkins (R-KS-2)
Paul Cook (R-CA-8)
Ted Yoho (R-FL-3)
Members of the Senate
Ben Cardin (D-Md.)
Todd Young (R-Ind.)
Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)
Marco Rubio (R-Fla.)
Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.)
Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii)
Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.)
Cory Booker (D-N.J.)
Ed Markey (D-Mass.)
Susan Collins (R-Maine)
Chris Coons (D-Del.)
Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.)
Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.)
Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
Kamala Harris (D-Calif.)
Bob Casey (D-Pa.)
Tim Kaine (D-Va.)
TAGS: ben, cardin, Burma, Donald, Trump, fortify, rights, Genocide, ISIS, Mike, Pompeo, Myanmar, Rakhine State, Rohingya, UNHCR, United Nations, Yazid