Leading American Jewish organization calls on the United States Government to act immediately
Statement of Robert Bank, President and CEO of American Jewish World Service:
“As the leading Jewish organization supporting the human rights of ethnic minorities in Burma, including those of the persecuted Rohingya people, we are gravely concerned that the Burmese military is committing crimes against humanity against the Rohingya people, a Muslim ethnic minority located in Western Burma. In the past two weeks alone, an unknown number of Rohingya civilians have been killed and more than 270,000 Rohingya people have been forced to flee to Bangladesh from their homes in Western Burma for fear of being imprisoned, tortured or murdered by the Burmese armed forces. Since the early 1980s, successive Burmese governments have refused to acknowledge the very existence of the Rohingya people, denying them citizenship and thereby rendering them stateless, without rights of any kind in Burma. With this recent mass exodus, observers predict that up to one-third of the Rohingya in Burma may be forced to flee the country.
“In light of the horrific violence against the Rohingya in Western Burma and the ongoing and seemingly coordinated destruction of their communities, we call on the United States government to immediately do all in its power to:
- Stop the systematic violence against Rohingya civilians and the destruction of Rohingya communities.
- Ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches the Rohingya in Western Burma, as well as in Bangladesh, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have fled and remained as refugees for generations.
- Allow independent media and human rights monitors to enter Burma and gather facts, free of pressure by the Burmese military, so that the people of Burma and the world community can understand the full impact of the attacks on the Rohingya.
“As Jews who are deeply committed to the human rights of all people, the words ‘Never Again’ mean no ethnic cleansing ever again, anywhere, at any time, against anyone. At this moment, it is imperative that we turn this call into action, until the egregious attacks on the Rohingya people by the Burmese military end.”
“We know all too well from our history of persecution that we cannot remain silent in the face of hate and violence against any ethnic minority. We call on all Jews to speak out against these unbridled, state-sanctioned attacks against the Rohingya, and we call on the United States government to act clearly and immediately to do all it can to save the Rohingya people from this horrific assault. We cannot allow any ethnic or religious minority to be attacked simply because of who they are and what they believe.”
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 and Burma
Supporting the human rights of ethnic minorities in Burma, including those of the Rohingya people, has been the work of American Jewish World Service (AJWS) in Burma for more than 15 years. 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 Burma. Please read more about our work in Burma.
For all media inquiries, please contact:
David L. Marcus