AJWS calls on U.S. House to pass new bill authorizing humanitarian aid for Rohingya refugees and imposing sanctions on Burmese military officials

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) Director of Government Affairs Rori Kramer issued the following statement on the introduction of the Burma Unified through Rigorous Military Accountability Act of 2019 (HR 3190) in the U.S. House:

We applaud Representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Steve Chabot (R-OH) for introducing legislation that would advance justice for the Rohingya people, hold Burmese military officials accountable for persecuting ethnic minorities in the country and authorize much needed humanitarian assistance for Rohingya refugees in particular. We call on the U.S. Congress to pass this legislation without delay or political games.

“As the leading global Jewish organization supporting human rights in Burma, we know the importance of addressing Burma’s culture of impunity that has allowed decade after decade of mass atrocities and human rights violations.

“As the leading global Jewish organization supporting human rights in Burma, we know the importance of addressing Burma’s culture of impunity that has allowed decades of human rights violations and atrocities against ethnic minorities in the country. Moreover, we cannot stand by when the Rohingya people are being targeted for genocide because we know from our own history that those who are silent are complicit in their oppression.

“This bill, like the legislation introduced earlier this year in the U.S. Senate, would take action against the perpetrators of genocide against the Rohingya people with targeted sanctions, visa denials and accountability mechanisms, while increasing humanitarian assistance.

“By passing this bipartisan legislation, Congress will send a clear signal that the U.S. government is committed to redressing the wrongs perpetrated against all ethnic minorities in Burma, as well as the most extreme crimes committed against the Rohingya people. We must hold the perpetrators to account for their actions.

“Since the Burmese military launched a massive genocidal campaign against the Rohingya people in August 2017, more than 700,000 Rohingya people have been forced to flee their home country to escape horrific violence—simply because of their ethnicity and religion. The U.S. Congress should send a clear message to the Burmese military and the global community that the United States will not stay silent in the face of genocide and other atrocities. Both chambers of Congress must now pass the legislation to help restore the citizenship rights and dignity of the Rohingya people.

“This legislation also would apply pressure on the Burmese government to conduct inclusive negotiations—with the full participation of Rohingya leaders—to ensure a safe repatriation process and resolution to this crisis.

“At American Jewish World Service, we have long called on the U.S. government to put human rights, justice and accountability at the core of foreign policy. We welcome this legislation, as it is designed to ensure that justice is achieved for Rohingya people and other ethnic minorities in Burma.”

About American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is the leading global Jewish organization working to pursue justice and fight poverty in the developing world. By supporting hundreds of social change organizations in 19 countries, we respond to the most pressing issues of our time—from disasters, genocide and hunger to the persecution of women and minorities worldwide. With Jewish values and a global reach, AJWS is making a difference in millions of lives and bringing a more just and equitable world closer for all. Learn more at www.ajws.org.

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.



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