Call Myanmar’s Crimes Genocide, Int’l NGOs Urge Pompeo

WASHINGTON, July 16 ¬– Refugees International announced today that more than 50 NGOs and human rights organizations have signed on to its petition urging U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to call Myanmar’s crimes against the Rohingya what they are: genocide.As the petition states, “Now is the time to use the words that fit the crimes. U.S. leadership matters. We call upon you to demonstrate the moral leadership and courage necessary to push global action in the face of genocide.”
Next month will mark three years since the Rohingya fled systematic violence on their doorstep in Myanmar. Even as the United Nations, Refugees International, the U.S. State Department itself, and many others have documented Myanmar’s crimes, the world has yet to hold the country accountable.
“A genocide determination is not just a matter of semantics, but a vital step in bolstering global action and accountability,” said Refugees International Senior Advocate for Human Rights Daniel Sullivan. “Without action, Rohingya have little hope of returning home, and those inside Myanmar remain at risk of genocide. The world cannot turn a blind eye.”
On August 25, Refugees International will send the petition to Secretary Pompeo, with the backing of thousands of signatures and support of NGOs, to highlight the need for a genocide determination. Among the organizations are Fortify Rights, Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, HIAS, Christian Solidarity Worldwide and many more.
This past April, Refugees International formally announced its position to call Myanmar’s systematic violence and hateful rhetoric—revealing the government’s egregious intent—against the Rohingya genocide. Such a determination will increase pressure and attention on Myanmar to help prevent further atrocities.
“After the Holocaust, the phrase ‘never again’ came to represent humanity’s commitment to prevent genocide—a commitment that has all-too-often been honoured in the breach,” said Refugees International President Eric Schwartz. “But failures of prevention—whether in Rwanda, in Srebrenica, and Myanmar—do not diminish the critical importance of calling out this horrific crime. And in the case of Myanmar, such action now would deter ongoing atrocities against the Rohingya. I am heartened to see such support for the campaign to urge Secretary Pompeo to call Myanmar’s crimes genocide. Now it is up to Secretary Pompeo to choose to be on the right side of history.”
Signatories to the petition are 1. 21Wilberforce, 2. Action Corps, 3. Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (ALTSEAN-Burma), 4. Americans for Rohingya, 5. Arakan Rohingya National Organization, 6. Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights, 7. Bethany Christian Service, 8. Burma Campaign UK, 9. Burma Human Rights Network, 10. Burma Rohingya Organization UK, 11. Burma Task Force, 12. Burma Rohingya Association of North America, 13. Burmese Rohingya Association of Japan, 14. Burmese Rohingya Community in Denmark, 15. Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organization, 16. Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative, 17. Christian Reformed Church Office of Social Justice, 18. Christian Solidarity Worldwide, 19. Eastern Pennsylvania Karen Community, 20. European Rohingya Council, 21. Fortify Rights, 22. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect, 23. Global Witness, 24. HIAS, 25. Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust, 26. Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity Prevention at Binghamton University, 27. International Campaign for the Rohingya, 28. International Interfaith Peace Corps, 29. International State Crime Initiative, Queen Mary University of London, 30. Jewish World Watch, 31. Justice4Rohingya UK, 32. Justice for All, 33. Kaladan Press Network, 34. Karen Community of Akron, Inc., 35. Karen Organization of America, 36. Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, 37. Never Again Coalition, 38. Partners Relief and Development, 39. Progressive Voice, 40. Queensland Rohingya Community Inc., 41. Refugees International, 42. Restless Beings, 43. Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, 44. Rohingya Action Ireland, 45. Rohingya Human Rights Monitoring Network, 46. Rohingya Human Rights Network, 47. RohingyaKhobor, 48. Rohingya Post, 49. Rohingya Refugee Network, 50. Rohingya Student Network, 51. Rohingya Student Union, 52. Rohingya Women Education Initiative, 53. Rohingya Youth for Legal Action, 54. STAND: The student-led movement to end mass atrocities, 55. Step Ahead, 56. Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, 57. US Campaign for Burma, and 58. WITNESS. – Refugees International Press release