Representatives: It’s Time. Pass the BURMA Act to Protect the Rohingya and Restore Rights in Myanmar | Physicians for Human Rights

Representatives: It’s Time. Pass the BURMA Act to Protect the Rohingya and Restore Rights in Myanmar

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Anti-coup protestors shout slogans on March 1, 2021 in Yangon, Myanmar.
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Eight months after Myanmar’s military seized control of the country in a violent coup, the country has spiraled into a protracted political and social crisis. The perpetrators of the coup are the same as those who carried out atrocities against the Rohingya people, more than a million of whom were driven from their home and remain trapped across the border as refugees. None have yet seen justice for what the Myanmar security forces did to them.

Right now, the United States House of Representatives is considering passage of the BURMA Act of 2021, which calls for the long overdue and immediate protection of the Rohingya people and accountability for the crimes that were committed against them. 
 
We MUST NOT delay justice any further. Add your voice now and demand that the House of Representatives unequivocally support the BURMA Act of 2021. Thank you.

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Your Message
Please, support the BURMA Act and protect the people of Myanmar.
Dear Member of Congress,

I join with Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) in urging you to support the Burma Unified through Rigorous Military Accountability Act of 2021 (BURMA Act) – a bipartisan piece of legislation that supports a comprehensive response to widespread and systematic human rights abuses by the Myanmar military (the Tatmadaw) following the February 1, 2021 coup d’état and the 2017 military operations to destroy and displace the Rohingya ethnic minority in that country.

Earlier this year, the Tatmadaw violently suppressed a massive pro-democratic national movement that protested against the February coup. The military used brutal tactics, including unlawful and arbitrary arrests and detentions, torture, and extrajudicial killings. The Tatmadaw’s crackdown is also generating a public health crisis, as forces occupy hospitals and persecute health care workers. Doctors have been threatened with arrest if they do not return to health facilities under military control, and some providing care in military-occupied hospitals have reported fear of threats and attacks. The military has critically impeded Myanmar’s health care system – including its COVID-19 testing, treatment, and immunization efforts. The potential global implications of the public health crisis are increasingly alarming and require an international response.

It is critical that the United States government use every diplomatic and policy tool to press the Tatmadaw to restore the country to civilian control, and to support a process for justice, accountability, and reconciliation in Myanmar. To this end, the BURMA Act seeks to:

● Impose targeted sanctions on the Tatmadaw’s economic interests and significant sources of income, including prohibition of imports from Myanmar’s gemstone sector;
● Authorize the secretary of state to designate a Special Coordinator for Burmese Democracy;
● Support greater UN action against the Tatmadaw in response to the February 1 coup;
● Authorize funding for FY2022 for humanitarian assistance and reconciliation, including support for Myanmar’s civil society and independent media;
● Require reporting from the secretary of state to determine if the widespread persecution of the Rohingya constitutes a genocide; and
● Provide technical support for the creation of transitional justice mechanisms pertaining to the violations associated with the coup, a determination of whether war crimes or crimes against humanity were committed during the February coup and its aftermath, and recommendations for how the United States should support transitional justice in Myanmar.

The military coup d’état in Myanmar is only the most recent bloody chapter in the country’s struggle for human rights and self-determination. I call on you and the Congress to support the BURMA Act of 2021 to demonstrate the United States’ support for the people of Myanmar, and for justice and accountability for the multitude of grave human rights abuses and atrocities committed by the Tatmadaw.

Sincerely,

[First Name] [Last Name]