Leading Jewish-American Organization Calls on the UN Security Council to Issue Sanctions Against Burma in Response to the Mass Murder and Displacement of the Rohingya People

Today’s Remarks by Aung San Suu Kyi Fall Far Short of What’s Necessary

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

“As the mass murder and displacement of the Rohingya people by the Burmese military intensifies, we implore the United Nations Security Council to issue targeted sanctions against Burma (Myanmar) to send an unmistakably clear message that the global community will not tolerate state-sanctioned violence against the Rohingya people.

“To be specific, we call upon the United Nations Security Council to issue a ban on visas for Burma’s military leadership and to freeze the assets of Burmese military leaders to ensure that the Burmese military pays a price for its illegal actions, which the top United Nations human rights official correctly classified as ‘a textbook case of ethnic cleansing.’  We call on the world’s most powerful nations in the United Nation’s Security Council to act quickly and decisively to issue sanctions against Burma’s military leadership.

“As the leading Jewish organization in the world providing support for advocates in Burma who are campaigning for the human rights of ethnic minorities in their country, including those of the Rohingya people, we are gravely concerned by the sharp escalation of organized violence against the Rohingya, including widespread rape and murder and the forced migration of more than 400,000 Rohingya from Burma to Bangladesh in recent weeks. As Jews, we are all too familiar with ethnic cleansing.

“We were gravely disappointed in today’s remarks by Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma’s civilian leader and Nobel Laureate, which fell far short of what is necessary to achieve justice. We call on Aung San Suu Kyi to acknowledge and address the severity of the crisis by holding to account Burmese military leaders, granting access to humanitarian aid groups, and committing unequivocally to aiding the safe return of civilians back to their homes.

“By initiating sanctions, we also urge the Security Council to go beyond its recent statement, which called on Burma to immediately end the violence, re-establish law and order, protect civilians and resolve the refugee crisis. Though this language did not go far enough, it marked at least an initial step:  it is the first time that the Security Council has unanimously made a statement on Burma in nine years, and the fact that China — a major backer of the Burmese military — signed on, is striking.

“We believe that we are at a turning point, and we urge the most powerful nations on Earth to act on behalf of the Rohingya people through the United Nations Security Council,” added Bank.


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.