AJWS Applauds New United Nations Report Urging International Community to Cut Ties with Burma’s Military

Leading human rights group calls on the international community to implement targeted sanctions to hold the Burmese military accountable for human rights abuses 

Rori Kramer, Director of Government Affairs for American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the leading global Jewish human rights organization, issued the following statement as the United Nation’s Fact-Finding Mission urged severing economic ties with the Burmese military:

“The new United Nations Fact-Finding Mission’s report confirms that the Burmese military’s vast web of economic interests is enabling human rights abuses against Rohingya, Kachin, Shan and other ethnic minorities in Burma (also known as Myanmar). We strongly urge the international community to hold the military accountable and to implement targeted sanctions immediately against officials as well as military-owned enterprises. This important UN report reveals that revenues generated by these businesses, with no civilian oversight, help sustain gross violations of international human rights law.

Crucially, the UN report also confirms that the most senior Burmese military officials, including the architects of the Rohingya genocide, have direct control over this rogue business network. These officials have used their positions of power to perpetuate abuses and spread hate speech against ethnic minorities. Further, they have engaged other countries’ businesses in the Burmese military’s heinous violations of human rights.

It has been clear for some time that the Burmese military is the key perpetrator of human rights violations against ethnic minority groups in Burma, and the time has come for the global community to take concrete steps to block funding sources that strengthen the military and enable it to commit acts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. We also strongly urge the U.S. Senate to pass pending legislation that would sanction such individuals, as well as Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin to use the full force of U.S. sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Act and freeze the assets of these top military officials.

As the leading global Jewish organization supporting human rights in Burma, we understand the consequences of silence in the face of state-sanctioned brutality. We believe strongly that a coordinated multilateral effort—along with forceful U.S. action—to hold the Burmese military accountable will bring us closer to achieving justice and ending the human rights crisis in Burma.”

About American Jewish World Service’s work in Burma

For more than 17 years, AJWS has supported the human rights of ethnic minorities in Burma, including the Rohingya people. AJWS provides direct financial support to more than 30 human rights organizations in Burma that have been working to advance the rights of minority ethnic groups and to create a truly pluralistic and democratic society. Please read more about our work in Burma here.

For More Information

If you are a member of the press and wish to obtain information about our work or speak to a member of our global team on deadline, please contact Tanyanika Davis, Director of Media Relations, at tdavis@ajws.org.