American Jewish World Service Strongly Supports Bipartisan Burma Act of 2017

This Act would authorize humanitarian aid for Rohingya refugees and impose targeted sanctions on culpable Burmese military officials

Statement of Robert Bank, President and CEO of American Jewish World Service (AJWS):

“The mass murder and displacement of the Rohingya people by the Burmese military demands nothing less than a strong and swift response by the United States. The bipartisan Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2017 represents a critical step in that direction to address the crisis. Additionally, it would re-establish an official U.S. policy on Burma that prioritizes the advancement of human rights, support for religious freedom, the bolstering of civil society and implementation of democratic reforms.

“Since late August, Burmese armed forces have targeted entire Rohingya villages for destruction and indiscriminately killed Rohingya men, raped women and burned children alive. Amid this violence, more than 600,000 displaced Rohingya have been forced to flee across the border to Bangladesh, where they languish in squalid refugee camps.

“We support the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2017 introduced in the Senate and the Burma United Through Rigorous Military Accountability Act introduced in the House of Representatives. Both pieces of legislation would authorize desperately needed humanitarian assistance for refugees and impose sanctions on Burmese military officials, who have played key roles in persecuting the Rohingya people. We believe strongly that the U.S. must respond to this crisis immediately.”

“We wholeheartedly commend Senators McCain, Cardin, Durbin and Young, and Representatives Engel and Chabot, as well as all original co-sponsors, for providing much needed American leadership on this pressing issue. We strongly urge all members of Congress to support the legislation and push for its timely passage.”

“As Jews and human rights advocates, the words ‘Never Again’ are a call to action against the mass atrocities perpetuated against any people in any country. We know from history what happens when the world remains silent in the face of hatred and violence, and we must not repeat that irredeemable mistake in Burma. The time to act for the Rohingya people is now.”


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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

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

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