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Jewish Rohingya Justice Network Supports Bipartisan Legislation on Burma

Reconstructing Judaism and the Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, as members of the Jewish Rohingya Justice Network (JRJN), issued this statement following the introduction of the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2019 (S. 1186) in the U.S. Senate:

“The Jewish Rohingya Justice Network applauds the bipartisan group of lawmakers in the Senate for their moral courage and leadership in introducing powerful legislation that would authorize humanitarian assistance for Rohingya refugees and hold the Burmese military officials responsible for this persecution accountable.

The American Jewish community stands united against the genocide of the Rohingya people and the persecution of all ethnic minorities in Burma. As a result of the violence against the Rohingya people, more than 700,000 Rohingya have fled to refugee camps in Bangladesh, where they live in squalid conditions. It is crucial for the Senate—followed quickly by the House—to take meaningful action and to pass legislation to restore the citizenship, rights and dignity of this extremely vulnerable population.

“We commend Senators Cardin and Young, as well as all original co-sponsors, for providing much-needed American leadership on this pressing issue. We strongly urge all senators to support this legislation and push for timely passage. Congress can send a powerful message to the Burmese military and the global community that the United States will not be silent in the face of genocide.

The Jewish Rohingya Justice Network works to promote a robust U.S. and international response to the Rohingya genocide. We believe that unified American leadership will bring us closer to achieving justice for the Rohingya people. Convened by American Jewish World Service (AJWS), we are the coalition of 19 American Jewish organizations that together encompass the support of millions of American Jews, including all four major branches of American Judaism. Together, we are committed to ending the atrocities against the Rohingya people.

“The suffering, mass murder and forced displacement of the predominantly Muslim Rohingya community speaks deeply to us as Jews—as people who have long faced religious and ethnic persecution. The words ‘Never Again’ are a call to action against the crimes of humanity and genocide perpetrated against any people in any country. We know the cost of silence 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.”

* * *

The Jewish Rohingya Justice Network is the powerful consortium of Jewish NGOs advocating for the rights of the persecuted Rohingya people of Burma. JRJN’s membership includes 19 organizations and all four major branches of American Judaism.

*Members include American Jewish World Service, Jewish Council for Public Affairs, American Jewish Committee, Jewish Community Relations Council of New York, Union for Reform Judaism, HIAS, Anti-Defamation League, Jewish World Watch, JACOB, The Orthodox Union, Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, T’ruah, Reconstructing Judaism, Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association, and the Rabbinical Assembly. Allies include Hebrew College, The New York Board of Rabbis, Uri L’Tzedek, Foundation for Ethnic Understanding, and The Shalom Center.

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