AJWS Responds to New U.S. Sanctions on Burmese Military

Global Jewish human rights group welcomes new sanctions and visa restrictions against high level human rights abusers in Burma

NEW YORK, NY – “As the leading global Jewish human rights organization, which has been supporting advocates for the human rights of ethnic minorities in Burma since 2002, AJWS welcomes the U.S. Government’s announcement today that it is imposing sanctions and visa restrictions on Burmese military leaders and divisions responsible for horrific violence against the Rohingya people in Burma,” said Robert Bank, President and CEO of AJWS. “Sanctioning the Burmese military for the atrocities against the Rohingya people in the Rakhine state is a crucial step in holding them and others responsible for the ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya people. This action sends the clear message that the United States is serious about using diplomacy to promote the safety and dignity of the Rohingya people,” said Bank.

“We applaud the U.S. government for taking these concrete steps under the Global Magnitsky Act, a law designed to hold perpetrators of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights to account. The actions of the Burmese military against the Rohingya people have violated the human rights of this ethnic minority community, and this action is an important step towards accountability. However welcome this action may be, it is not sufficient, and we call on the United States government to name additional individuals involved in this heinous and calculated violence against Rohingya communities.”

“We also look forward to the U.S. State Department’s long anticipated report, detailing the Burmese military’s ‘clearance operations’ and violence committed against the Rohingya people. This report represents a critical opportunity for the U.S. to take a leadership role in seeking justice and accountability for the Rohingya people by calling on its fellow U.N. Security Council members to refer the Burma situation to the International Criminal Court.”

“The Burmese military has been carrying out these intensified and highly destructive attacks on the Rohingya people since August 25, 2017, and each day we delay taking action, we delay justice for the Rohingya people. Those that survived and fled the violence are living in refugee camps, where they are vulnerable to flooding, landslides, waterborne diseases and overall insecurity. To secure justice for the Rohingya people, we must ensure their right live in Burma in peace and security.”

“We must act urgently as the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya still living in Burma are at grave risk. Confined to camps and ghettos, their rights are violated and they live in fear and worry about what other crimes will be committed against them. We insist that the U.S. call on Burmese authorities to allow international aid organizations, human rights monitors and independent journalists prompt and unfettered access to northern Rakhine State, where the remaining Rohingya communities in Burma are clustered.”

“As Jews who understand all too well from our history what happens when the world community does not stand up unequivocally in defense of oppressed minorities subject to state-sanctioned hate and life threatening assaults, we are gratified that the U.S. has taken these actions and urge our government to act decisively to forge a path for justice for the Rohingya people,” added Bank.


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About American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is the leading 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 15 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.