The Jewish Rohingya Justice Network applauds House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), House Foreign Affairs Asia-Pacific Subcommittee Ranking Member Steve Chabot (R-OH) and Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) for their leadership in introducing the Burma Unified through Rigorous Military Accountability Act of 2021 or the BURMA Act. This legislation comes at a critical moment for all of the people of Burma, including the Rohingya people, and we call on every member of Congress to support this bill’s passage without delay.
It has been over seven months since the Burmese military overthrew the democratically elected government in Burma, and four years since the state-coordinated campaign against the Rohingya people that escalated to a full-scale genocide. While we have collectively welcomed the Biden Administration’s actions to hold the perpetrators of the coup responsible, we know that more can and must be done. Today’s introduction of the BURMA Act is that step, but it cannot be the last.
Congress must act now to hold the Burmese military accountable for the atrocities they have committed, both past and present, help the Burmese people in their fight for their democracy, and help to finally bring real accountability to the Rohingya people and other marginalized communities in Burma who have suffered so much at the hands of the Burmese military.
Since the Burmese military launched a massive genocidal campaign against the Rohingya people in August 2017, nearly a million Rohingya people were forced to flee their home to escape horrific violence—simply because of their ethnicity and religion. To date, many largely remain stuck in limbo in Bangladesh in refugee camps, with their human rights and future at risk. For them – and the people fighting for their democracy in Burma – more action from the U.S. Government and international community cannot come soon enough.
The U.S. Congress should send a clear message to the Burmese military and the global community that the United States will not stay silent in the face of genocide, attacks on democracy, and violations of human rights. We urge every Member of Congress to cosponsor and support passage of the BURMA Act.