August 25, 2020

Young Calls for Justice and Accountability on the 3rd Anniversary of the Rohingya Genocide

WASHINGTON – Today, on the third anniversary of the Burmese military’s genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority in Burma, U.S. Senator Young is taking steps to ensure justice and accountability for the Rohingya people. Indiana is home to the largest Burmese population in the United States. The largest group of the Rohingya in the United States lives in Fort Wayne. 


Senator Young joined a bipartisan group of Senators on a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging the Trump administration to take additional action to support the Rohingya community, to hold accountable those responsible for the atrocities, and to refer to these crimes by their proper term: genocide.


“Since August 25, 2017, close to 800,000 Rohingya have fled violence in Burma by escaping into neighboring Bangladesh. Most of them are living in refugee camps in horrific conditions, joining hundreds of thousands of other Rohingya forced to flee from Burma due to decades of government-sanctioned violence. Throughout this time, the systemic campaign of violence against the Rohingya has been well-documented by the State Department and many others. The Burmese military has murdered thousands of Rohingya, committed widespread rape and sexual violence, destroyed hundreds of villages, thrown children and babies into fires, and used mass graves to attempt to conceal their reprehensible crimes,” the Senators wrote.


“We urge you and President Trump to speak out forcefully and publicly about these atrocities, acknowledging the gravity of the crimes with a determination of crimes against humanity and genocide,” they continued. “The Rohingya people continue to face real and imminent risk, and the United States should act today to demonstrate global leadership and stand boldly against these genocidal tactics that have no place in civilized society.”


Click HERE to view the full letter. 


Senator Young also joined U.S. Senators Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Marco Rubio, (R-Fla.), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), colleagues on the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in issuing the following joint statement commemorating the third anniversary of the atrocities against the Rohingya people:


“Today, August 25, marks three years since the Burmese military undertook a campaign of systemic violence against the Rohingya people in Burma’s Rakhine State, forcing more than 740,000 people to flee their homes and cross into Bangladesh to seek safety. There are now more than one million refugees living in Bangladesh, while thousands more remain displaced from their homes and in need of humanitarian assistance in Burma. 


“The Rohingya deserve meaningful justice and accountability for the terrible crimes committed against them, as do Burma’s other ethnic minorities who the Burmese military has terrorized for decades. We call for an end to the cycle of impunity for gross human rights violations committed by the Burmese military. The Burmese government must act to address the root causes of the crisis in Rakhine State, which must include restoring Rohingya citizenship and guaranteeing access to fundamental rights and freedoms.  


“We urge countries in the region to ensure that all those fleeing persecution from Burma be treated with the respect their humanity deserves and that their rights be protected. We applaud the Government of Bangladesh and its people for generously extending safe haven to the Rohingya refugees living within its borders. While the primary responsibility for addressing the Rohingya crisis lies with Burma, more can and should be done to support the refugees until they are able to safely return to Burma. We also urge the Bangladeshi authorities to lift internet and telecommunication restrictions in Rohingya camps; halt any relocation efforts to Bhasan Char until international assessments have determined the island is safe and that adequate services can be provided; and grant the Rohingya with rights, including protection from refoulement, access to livelihoods and formal education, and freedom of movement.


“As members of Congress, we have worked to advance bipartisan, bicameral legislation that would sanction leaders of the Burmese military; demand safe, dignified, and voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees; demand accountability for persecuted ethnic and religious minorities in the country; and promote efforts to achieve justice for war crimes, crimes against humanity, and genocide. This legislation passed the House twice with overwhelmingly bipartisan support. We urge our colleagues to work with us to ensure that similar legislation is passed in the Senate and signed into law. 


“Finally, we call on the administration to use all the tools at its disposal to defend the rights and dignity of the Rohingya people and other ethnic minorities in Burma and to hold accountable the perpetrators of crimes against them.”