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Call to Protect Human Rights in in Myanmar (Burma) in Face of COVID-19

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Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association joined a 64-member coalition of human rights organizations in signing a letter released by the American Jewish World Service. This joint letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded that Myanmar (Burma) make a priority of promoting human rights as COVID-19 spreads. Rori Kramer, Director of U.S. Advocacy at American Jewish World Service, the leading global Jewish human rights organization, issued this statement:

“American Jewish World Service and 63 human rights organizations have sent a clear message to our leadership: The U.S. government must use all its diplomatic might to pressure Myanmar’s government and military to halt abusing the rights of the country’s ethnic and religious minorities under the guise of responding to COVID-19.

We are deeply worried by the increase in assaults on civilians in Myanmar in the last few weeks, including the government’s attacks on the media and its use of internet black outs to block the flow of information to communities of ethnic and religious minorities.

Myanmar’s Government and military must be stopped from using this pandemic as a cover to violate human rights. Myanmar needs to make testing for COVID-19, health care, and humanitarian aid accessible to all, including the most marginalized religious and ethnic minorities. The U.S. must be vigilant to ensure that Myanmar’s government is using all international aid for its COVID-19 response as effectively and equitably as possible.

As the leading global Jewish human rights organization supporting the human rights of the Rohingya people and other ethnic minorities in Myanmar, we join the global human rights community in calling on the Trump administration to use its international clout: We need to make clear that Myanmar’s authorities must end the country’s long history of systemic discrimination and cease using the crisis engendered by the pandemic as a cover for this immoral and unsustainable policy.”

The complete text of the letter and its signatories is attached as a PDF. 

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