Rohingya

Refugees International Congratulates Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on 10th Anniversary

Refugees International Congratulates Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on 10th Anniversary

Refugees International congratulates the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission on its 10th anniversary of standing up for those whose human rights are under threat.

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Impending Plans to Return Rohingya Refugees to Imperil Thousands

Impending Plans to Return Rohingya Refugees to Imperil Thousands

Refugees International is gravely concerned about announced plans to begin returning Rohingya refugees to an unacceptably dangerous situation in Myanmar.

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U.S. Findings of Mass Killings in Myanmar Must Lead to Action

U.S. Findings of Mass Killings in Myanmar Must Lead to Action

Refugees International welcomes the public release of the U.S. State Department’s report on its investigation into atrocities committed by the Myanmar government against the Rohingya minority. But the findings of the report must lead to actions necessary for holding the perpetrators of the violence responsible.

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Refugees International Welcomes New Myanmar Sanctions for Ethnic Cleansing

Refugees International Welcomes New Myanmar Sanctions for Ethnic Cleansing

Refugees International welcomes the announcement by the U.S. Treasury Department of new targeted sanctions on four Myanmar security officials and two military units directly involved in the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya minority. However, the new sanctions must be part of sustained efforts by the U.S. government at its highest levels in order to have real impact.

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Victims’ Rights: Human Rights Abuses and the Persecution of Minorities in Northern Myanmar

Victims’ Rights: Human Rights Abuses and the Persecution of Minorities in Northern Myanmar

Senior Advocate for Human Rights Daniel P. Sullivan delivered testimony at a July 25, 2018, Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission hearing on “Victims’ Rights in Burma,” regarding human rights abuses and the persecution of minorities in northern Myanmar, particularly in Myanmar’s Kachin and northern Shan States.

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RI Joins 45 Groups to Call on U.S. Government to Strengthen Targeted Sanctions on Myanmar

RI Joins 45 Groups to Call on U.S. Government to Strengthen Targeted Sanctions on Myanmar

Refugees International joined 45 other organizations in sending the following letter to Senator Inhofe (Acting Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee), Senator Reed (Ranking Member of the Senate Armed Services Committee), Representative Thornberry (Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee), and Representative Smith (Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee). The letter urges the U.S. government to strengthen targeted sanctions on Myanmar.

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Refugees International Statement on Myanmar-UN Agreement: Ongoing Dangers Prevent Rohingya Returns

Refugees International Statement on Myanmar-UN Agreement:  Ongoing Dangers Prevent Rohingya Returns

In the statement, Refugees International notes the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the UN Refugee Agency and the UN Development Program with the Government of Myanmar which would allow the return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar. However, RI is deeply concerned that continued impunity, restricted access to aid, and denial of basic human rights in Myanmar’s Rakhine State make repatriation a distant reality at this time.

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UN Security Council Must Take Action during Rohingya Visits

UN Security Council Must Take Action during Rohingya Visits

Refugees International urges the United Nations Security Council to use its visits to Bangladesh and Myanmar to demand humanitarian access in Rakhine State and accountability for the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya. The visit to the camps in Bangladesh, where 700,000 Rohingya have fled, must also serve to highlight the urgent need for humanitarian support and improved coordination ahead of the monsoon and cyclone seasons.

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RI Welcomes the Senate Committee Passage of the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act

RI Welcomes the Senate Committee Passage of the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act

Refugees International welcomes the Senate Foreign Relations Committee passage of S.2060, the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act.  This bipartisan legislation is a critical step forward in demanding accountability for the ethnic cleansing that has taken place in Burma (also known as  Myanmar).  

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The Bangladesh-Myanmar Agreement on Rohingya Repatriation

The Bangladesh-Myanmar Agreement on Rohingya Repatriation

With the news that Myanmar and Bangladesh have reached an agreement on the return of the 600,000 Rohingya, Refugees International underlines several significant concerns about the terms of repatriation. Before any steps are undertaken, a number of safeguards must be put in place.

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RI Welcomes Secretary Tillerson's Acknowledgement of Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar, But Further Action is Still Needed

RI Welcomes Secretary Tillerson's Acknowledgement of Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar, But Further Action is Still Needed

Refugees International welcomes U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's acknowledgement that ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya people is taking place in Myanmar. 

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President Trump Must Prioritize Rohingya Crisis In Southeast Asia Visit

President Trump Must Prioritize Rohingya Crisis In Southeast Asia Visit

As President Trump take parts in meetings and summits in Southeast Asia, he must address the ethnic cleansing of Myanmar’s Rohingya minority population by Myanmar’s security forces.

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Letter to the State Department and Treasury Department on Targeted Sanctions in Burma

November 2, 2017

The Honorable Rex Tillerson
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, DC 20520

The Honorable Steven Mnuchin
Secretary of the Treasury
U.S. Department of the Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20220

Re: Burma and Targeted Sanctions

Dear Secretaries Tillerson and Mnuchin,

The US government urgently needs to act to help address the grave human rights and humanitarian crisis that has resulted from the Burmese military’s brutal response to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA)’s August 25 attack on government posts in Burma’s Rakhine State.

As you know, since late August, Burmese security forces have waged a campaign of ethnic cleansing and committed numerous crimes against humanity against the Rohingya population, a long-persecuted ethnic and religious minority group predominantly in Rakhine State. In response to these abuses, more than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh over the past two months.

Satellite images commissioned by independent organizations show hundreds of burned villages – and tens of thousands of torched buildings. Refugees have provided first-hand accounts of unfathomable brutality: soldiers burning infants alive, gang-raping women, shooting villagers fleeing their homes – violations that research by nongovernmental organizations has found to be widespread and systematic.

United Nations investigators who have conducted interviews of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh have noted “a consistent, methodical pattern of actions resulting in gross human rights violations affecting hundreds of thousands of people.” The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein, has called the scale and nature of the atrocities in Rakhine a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
Despite international condemnation, Burmese authorities continue to restrict access to the region for most international humanitarian organizations, a UN fact-finding mission, and independent media. The commander-in-chief of the Burmese military, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, and other Burmese officials, refuse to acknowledge the atrocities their forces have committed.

We commend the U.S. government for the nearly $104 million in humanitarian assistance it has provided in fiscal year 2017, nearly $40 million of which was provided in direct response to the Rakhine State crisis, to displaced populations in Burma and refugees in neighboring countries. We also strongly support the State Department’s statement that “individuals or entities responsible for atrocities, including non-state actors and vigilantes, be held accountable.”

It is critical that the U.S. government respond to the severity and scope of the Burmese military’s ethnic cleansing campaign with effective action. To this end, we urge the administration to immediately and robustly impose targeted economic sanctions authorized under the 2008 JADE Act and the 2016 Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.

Under the JADE Act, the president is empowered to issue travel restrictions and financial sanctions against Burmese military officials and their immediate family members if they are “involved in…gross violations of human rights in Burma or in the commission of other human rights abuses.” Steps taken by the previous administration to lift sanctions did not unravel existing authorities but only waived them, and, according to recent State Department releases, some JADE Act authorities are currently in use, such as the ban on current and former Burmese military officials traveling to the United States. The administration should move to robustly and vigorously employ the remaining authorities.

In addition to the JADE Act, the administration should exercise its authority granted under the Global Magnitsky Act, which allows for the levying of travel restrictions and financial sanctions against individuals responsible for acts of significant corruption and gross violations of internationally recognized human rights committed against individuals who seek “to obtain, exercise, defend, or promote internationally recognized human rights and freedoms, such as the freedom of religion.” Given that the Burmese military’s actions against the Rohingya people are motivated at least in part on religious grounds, the Global Magnitsky Act is applicable.

Given the systemic nature of the crimes being perpetrated against the Rohingya people, it is important that sanctions designations levied under either the JADE Act or Global Magnitsky Act target appropriately senior officials who likely ordered criminal acts or appear to have been criminally responsible as a matter of command responsibility. Command responsibility would encompass those senior-most members of the Burmese security forces who knew or had reason to know that their subordinates were committing extrajudicial killings, rape, arson and other abuses, and failed to take all necessary and reasonable steps to prevent such abuses or punish those responsible.

As you recently said, Secretary Tillerson, “the world cannot just sit idly by and be witness to these atrocities.” The JADE Act and Global Magnitsky Act provide the executive branch with tools for action. The United States should employ them to the fullest to prevent dire consequences for Burma’s future and send an unmistakable signal to the rest of the world.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter.

Sincerely,

Human Rights Watch
Human Rights First
AFL-CIO
ALTSEAN-Burma
Ameinu (Our People)
Americans for Democracy & Human Rights in Bahrain
American Jewish Committee
American Jewish World Service
Anti-Defamation League
Association Suisse Birmanie
Boat People SOS
Buddhist Global Relief
Burma Action Ireland
Burma Campaign UK
Burma Human Rights Network
Burma Task Force
Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK
Center for Justice & Accountability
Christian Solidarity Worldwide
Congregation Tehillah
CREDO
Emgage Action
Estonian American National Council
Equal Rights Trust
Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR-USA)
Freedom House
Friends Committee on National Legislation
Fortify Rights
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect

Global Progressive Hub
Holocaust, Genocide, and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College
Info Birmanie
Institute for Asian Democracy
Interfaith Center of New York
International Campaign for the Rohingya
International State Crime Initiative
Investors Against Genocide
Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights
JACOB: The Jewish Alliance of Concern Over Burma
Jewish Council for Public Affairs
Joint Baltic American National Committee
Jubilee Campaign USA Inc
Just Foreign Policy
Magnitsky Act Initiative
Muslim Bar Association of New York
Muslim Public Affairs Council
Partners Relief & Development
Physicians for Human Rights
Refugees International
Society for Threatened Peoples - Germany
STAND: The Student-Led Movement to End Mass Atrocities
The Network of Chinese Human Rights Defenders
The Network of Spiritual Progressives
T'ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants
Viet Tan
Win Without War

 

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Testimony by Daniel Sullivan on Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar

Testimony by Daniel Sullivan on Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar

On September 27, 2017, Refugees International Senior Advocate for Human Rights Daniel Sullivan testified before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific in a hearing titled "Burma’s Brutal Campaign Against the Rohingya."

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Myanmar: Global Appeal for UN Action

Myanmar: Global Appeal for UN Action

We, a global coalition of 88 civil society organizations, urgently call upon UN member states to take immediate steps to address the human rights abuses and humanitarian catastrophe engulfing Myanmar’s ethnic Rohingya population.

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President Trump Must Address Ethnic Cleansing and Crimes against Humanity in Myanmar

President Trump Must Address Ethnic Cleansing and Crimes against Humanity in Myanmar

During his upcoming address to the United Nations General Assembly, President Donald Trump must demand strong measures to end the ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity being perpetrated by the Myanmar military against the Rohingya people, especially in light of the escalated violence over the past three weeks. 

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World Leaders Must Act on Rohingya Crisis

World Leaders Must Act on Rohingya Crisis

Refugees International is outraged by the deplorable actions of the Myanmar military over the past several days. Well over 100,000 Rohingya from Rakhine State have been driven from their homes, and hundreds have reportedly been killed. Untold numbers are experiencing enormous deprivation and suffering as international humanitarian access is blocked to affected areas in Rakhine State. 

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Refugees International Deeply Alarmed by Violence in Myanmar

Refugees International Deeply Alarmed by Violence in Myanmar

Refugees International (RI) is deeply alarmed by the recent violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State and the dire consequences for innocent civilians. RI condemns the heavy-handed response of the Myanmar military to attacks by Rohingya militants on police. Shocking reports of attacks on Rohingya civilians by the Myanmar military, including the firing of machine guns and mortars toward fleeing civilians, are particularly disturbing and deserve unequivocal international condemnation.

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Implement Rakhine Commission Recommendations for Myanmar's Rohingya

Implement Rakhine Commission Recommendations for Myanmar's Rohingya

Refugees International issued a statement welcoming the final report and recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State led by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. RI urges the Government of Myanmar to implement the Commission's recommendations with particular emphasis on the need for full and unfettered humanitarian access and the need to address Rakhine State as a human rights crisis.

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Statement on the Human Rights of the Rohingya People

Statement on the Human Rights of the Rohingya People

In a statement for the record before the Lantos Human Rights Commission, Refugees International outlined the plight of the Rohingya people of Myanmar, an ethnic minority that is one of the most persecuted groups in the world. More than one million Rohingya live in Myanmar today and face wide-ranging restrictions on their rights to move, work, marry, and even have children. More than 140,000 Rohingya were displaced by violence in 2012 and another 100,000 have been forced to flee their homes during a military crackdown over the last six months.

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