Tell the U.S. government to act in Myanmar
August 27, 2018
Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo
United States Department of State
Ambassador Nikki Haley
United States Mission to the United Nations
New York, NY
As you know, August 25, 2017 marked the start of a period of violent attacks and human rights abuses against the Rohingya people in Rakhine State, Myanmar. More than 720,000 Rohingya were forced to flee their homes, seeking refuge in neighboring Bangladesh.
Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) has documented forensic evidence of the serious injuries and trauma suffered by the Rohingya at the hands of the Myanmar security forces and Rakhine Buddhist civilians. Thousands of people were killed, numerous women and girls were raped, often in front of their families, and entire villages were burned to the ground. Teams of PHR doctors and investigators traveled to the Rohingya refugee camps to forensically document the gunshot wounds, beatings, rapes, burns and other trauma suffered by the Rohingya to corroborate their stories and help them seek justice. PHR urges that these atrocities be investigated as crimes against humanity and those responsible be identified and held accountable through appropriate mechanisms.
We are also deeply concerned that the Government of Myanmar is orchestrating policies designed to permanently shut out Rohingya and other Muslim minorities from their communities and prevent their timely, voluntary, and safe repatriation.
On the one-year anniversary of these atrocities, we, the PHR medical community, call on the Government of the United States to:
- Fully release to the public the forthcoming State Department Report on the Rohingya Crisis and provide access to the report’s underlying interview documents to credible NGOs investigating alleged atrocities;
- Ensure appropriate implementation of the “Leahy Law” to ensure that military units implicated in atrocities receive no U.S. military assistance, equipment, or training;
- In cooperation with the Treasury Department, expand the existing list of perpetrators to be held accountable through application of the Global Magnitsky Act;
- Working with international partners, ensure that the Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis is fully funded to provide adequate humanitarian and medical assistance to refugees in Bangladesh and other neighboring countries;
- Undertake necessary steps to guarantee that any repatriation of the Rohingya to Myanmar is voluntary, dignified, and safe with appropriate safeguards and sustainable conditions both during and after any repatriation process;
- Use the United States’ upcoming turn as Chair of the United Nations Security Council to highlight and act on the forthcoming report of the UN Fact-Finding Mission;
- Use the U.S. voice and vote in the UN Security Council to work toward a referral of the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court or support other credible international justice initiatives to hold perpetrators accountable.
- Support the creation of an independent, impartial, and effective mechanism to collect, preserve, and analyze evidence for criminal investigations, which in turn can establish individual responsibility for these crimes under international law.