American Jewish World Service Applauds U.S. House for Bipartisan Vote on Bill to Bring Justice to Burma

Leading global Jewish human rights group urges U.S. Senate to pass the same legislation

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 U.S. House of Representatives passed Burma Unified through Rigorous Military Accountability Act (BURMA Act), which includes calls for justice and accountability in Burma:

“We applaud the House of Representatives for their overwhelming show of bipartisan support to end human rights atrocities in Burma by passing the BURMA Act with a vote of 394 to 21. This bill would sanction leaders of the Burmese military; demand safe, dignified, and voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees; demand accountability for the many persecuted ethnic and religious minorities in the country, and promote efforts to achieve justice for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.

It is now the clear responsibility of the U.S. Senate to pass similar legislation without delay.

Congress must send a unified, resounding 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.

We applaud Representatives Eliot Engel (D-NY) and Steve Chabot (R-OH) for their bipartisan leadership of this legislation to advance justice for the Rohingya people and all ethnic minorities in Burma.

Since the Burmese military launched a genocidal campaign against the Rohingya people just over two years ago, 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. This legislation would help curtail the culture of impunity in the Burmese military that has led to decades of mass atrocities and human rights violations.

As the leading global Jewish organization supporting human rights in Burma, we cannot stand idly by while the Rohingya people are targeted for genocide. We know from our own history and the history of all persecuted minorities that staying silent makes us complicit. We know the importance of standing up unequivocally in defense of minorities facing state-sanctioned oppression and violence. We will continue to join with all ethnic and religious minorities in Burma to address the culture of impunity that has fostered years of human rights violations and mass atrocities.

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. The Rohingya genocide is the perfect example of why the U.S. must stand strongly for human rights.”

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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