Five years ago, Burma’s military launched a brutal campaign of violence against Rohingya – razing villages, raping, torturing, and perpetrating large-scale atrocities that killed thousands of men, women, and children. More than 740,000 Rohingya were forced to flee their homes and seek refuge in Bangladesh. In March 2022, Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared that the atrocities committed by the Burmese military against Rohingya constituted genocide and crimes against humanity. Since the February 2021 military coup, many of the same military forces implicated in these atrocities against Rohingya continue to repress, torture, and kill the people of Burma in a blatant attempt to extinguish Burma’s democratic future. The regime’s execution of four pro-democracy and opposition leaders is only the latest example of the military’s abject disregard for human rights and the rule of law. Its escalation of violence has exacerbated the humanitarian situation, particularly for ethnic and religious minority communities, including Rohingya, who remain among the most vulnerable and marginalized populations in the country. The United States continues to support the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, the case under the Genocide Convention that The Gambia has brought against Burma before the International Court of Justice, and credible courts around the world that have jurisdiction in cases involving Burmese military atrocities.
The United States also supports measures by the UN Security Council to promote justice and accountability for the military’s actions. Indeed, the United States would support a UN Security Council referral of the situation in Burma to the International Criminal Court. Since 2017, the United States has provided more than $1.7 billion to help meet the immediate humanitarian needs of Rohingya and all affected by persecution in Burma, Bangladesh, and elsewhere in the region. It remains the leading single donor of humanitarian assistance to those whose lives have been upended by the violence in Rakhine State.
The United States stands in solidarity with the government of Bangladesh and other Rohingya-hosting governments in the region. “We are working to significantly increase resettlement of Rohingya refugees from the region, including from Bangladesh, so that they can rebuild their lives in the United States,” declared Secretary Blinken. The United States will continue to support Rohingya and the people of Burma in their pursuit of freedom, human rights, and democracy by advancing justice and accountability, increasing economic and diplomatic pressure on the military, and safeguarding the human rights and human dignity of all individuals in Burma.
(c) 2022, VOA