American Jewish World Service Calls on U.S. Congress to Pass Burma Legislation

Senate bill would authorize humanitarian aid for Rohingya refugees and impose 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 Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2019 (S.1186) in the U.S. Senate:

“As the leading global Jewish organization supporting human rights in Burma, we applaud Senators Cardin and Young for introducing powerful legislation that would finally provide justice to the Rohingya people and other persecuted ethnic minorities in Burma. The legislation takes meaningful action against the perpetrators of crimes against the Rohingya people through targeted sanctions and visa denials, increased humanitarian assistance and accountability mechanisms.

“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. Congress must take a crucial step by passing this legislation to help restore the citizenship rights and dignity of this extremely vulnerable population.

“This legislation would curtail the culture of impunity in Burma that has led to decades of mass atrocities and human rights violations. It would also 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.

“Congress must transcend partisan divides and pass this legislation to send a clear signal that the U.S. government is committed to redressing the heinous wrongs committed against the Rohingya people. That means holding the perpetrators of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide to account for their actions.

Service, we have long maintained that championing the principles of human rights, justice and accountability in U.S. foreign policy can make a difference in countries around the world. We stand with the Rohingya people and other ethnic minorities in Burma in demanding justice and accountability. We call on Congress to take action without delay.”

# # #

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

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