American Jewish World Service Launches Emergency Fund to Support the Rohingya People

Donations Will Assist Ethnic Minority Group in Burma Fleeing Horrific Violence and Mass Displacement at Hands of Burmese Military

NEW YORK, NY – American Jewish World Service (AJWS), the leading Jewish organization supporting the human rights of ethnic minorities in Burma, has launched an emergency fund to offer immediate assistance to the Rohingya people fleeing horrific violence and mass displacement perpetrated by the Burmese military. The persecution of the Rohingya has recently intensified. Since late August, Burmese forces have burned entire Rohingya villages to the ground and indiscriminately massacred Rohingya men, women and children—forcing more than 400,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh.

“I’m haunted by the images of Rohingya people fleeing their homes and communities for fear of being imprisoned, tortured, raped and murdered by the Burmese armed forces,” said Robert Bank, President and CEO of AJWS. “As Jews, we understand this kind of persecution all too well, and we believe it is our moral responsibility to help the Rohingya people. We won’t stand idly by as an entire ethnic group is stripped of its dignity and rights,” added Bank.

Last week, AJWS called on the UN Security Council to issue sanctions against the Burmese military in response to the murder and mass displacement of the Rohingya. This week, AJWS is launching an emergency fund to aid Rohingya in Burma and those who have fled to Bangladesh, offering both immediate and long-term humanitarian aid.

The emergency relief funds will support efforts by trusted local organizations in Burma and Bangladesh that are working around the clock to help the Rohingya people escape violence, live with dignity and eventually resettle in Burma. AJWS will also support human rights advocacy in Burma and ensure that the experiences and suffering of the Rohingya people are thoroughly documented.

“With Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement, approaching, we reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that the Rohingya people survive this effort to destroy them,” said Bank. “Jews know all too well what it means to experience persecution. We will not remain silent in the face of ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people by the Burmese military. We must act now to ensure the survival, safety and dignity of the Rohingya people.”

 

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About American Jewish World Service (AJWS)

American Jewish World Service (AJWS) is the leading Jewish organization working to realize human rights and end poverty in the developing world. AJWS defends civil and political rights, advances sexual health and rights, promotes land rights and climate justice and aids communities in the aftermath of disasters. We pursue lasting change by supporting grassroots and global human rights organizations in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and by advocating for U.S. and international policies for justice and equality worldwide. 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.

 

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Tim Lessick
212.792.2846