November 3, 2017 — New York
AJC and its Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights (JBI) joined 56 other NGOs in a letter to Secretary of State Tillerson and Secretary of the Treasury Mnuchin urging U.S. action in response to the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims in Burma.
Since August Burmese security forces have pursued a violent campaign against the Rohingya in Rakhine State, committing numerous human rights abuses, and causing more than 600,000 to flee to Bangladesh.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al-Hussein, addressing the JBI Human Rights Lecture last month, spoke about these atrocities, which he previously has called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” UN investigators have determined from witness testimony that the Burmese military actions have resulted in “gross human rights violations affecting hundreds of thousands of people.”
To assist the refugees, AJC has also supported IsraAID, the Israeli humanitarian relief organization, in its efforts to help provide aid to Rohingya who fled to Bangladesh.
The NGO letter commends the U.S. government for humanitarian aid it has provided and the State Department’s statement supporting accountability for perpetrators. The letter encourages the U.S. to take additional actions against key Burmese military leaders in accordance with U.S. law.
Given the systemic nature of the crimes being perpetrated against the Rohingya, strong U.S. leadership is critical to protect the Rohingya, end the human rights abuses, and hold the Burmese government accountable.