MAY 2018

 

The month of May will mark nine months since the Burmese army drove 700,000 Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh. Aid workers noticed the high number of pregnant women in the refugee camps, due to the mass rape of Rohingya women as a tool of genocide and ethnic cleansing. In the next several weeks, thousands of babies will be born. What will happen to these babies?

 

According to media reports Save the Children expects the number of babies abandoned by their mothers to increase in next weeks, even as the monsoon rains increase. Others may find love in their families, despite the hate that led to rape. What are we doing to make this situation better?

 

Systematic rape of minority community women has long been a tool of the military’s domination, control and punishment in Myanmar. In 2011, Aung San Suu Kyi criticized the Burmese military for this pattern of abuse. Now that she is in office, and most of the sexual violence impacts the Rohingya, she joins the rest of her government in silence and denial.

 

Levels of aid to these refugees are not at the levels promised. Needs are urgent! The US Sanctions bills currently contain millions of dollars in aid, but these are being blocked by Congressional leadership. In the Senate, Republican leader Mitch McConnell needs to hear from us. In the House of Representatives Ed Royce, a friend to the Rohingya, also needs to be reminded that delay only serves the cause of injustice, rape and oppression. You can also contact your local representative,

 

 

AP Photo/Dar Yasin

 

Comment to Senate Leader McConnell

Twitter: @McConnellPress 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/mitchmcconnell

Email contact form: https://www.mcconnell.senate.gov/public/index.cfm?p=ContactForm 

Washington DC Office Phone: (202) 224-2541 (Recommended!)

Comment to Our Ally Ed Royce

Twitter @RepEdRoyce 

Foreign Affairs/Women’s Issues Staffer: Blair.Rotert@mail.house.gov 

Phone: (202) 225-4111 

General Switchboard for your elected representative: (202) 224-3121 

Please Tell Them All

During the military assault and destruction of their villages in the autumn of 2017, Rohingya women were raped in huge numbers and the Myanmar government has simply denied this fact. This is another important reason why more pressure on Myanmar’s government is needed. Further delay of the bipartisan Sanctions Bills sends the wrong message to perpetrators of rape and other crimes of war. 

Sanctions bills S 2060 and HR 4223 include funds that will help women who were raped by the Burmese military starting 9 months ago and now will be giving birth this month.

How can the USA ignore a genocide? How do we ignore suffering mothers on Mother’s Day? If we continue to make excuses for inaction, history will judge us all harshly.

While China is steady in its protection of the Myanmar military, the US is not steady or strong in protection of Rohingya rights. Actions speak louder than words.

Rohingya must be repatriated in their original villages and lands. All stolen properties must be returned or Rohingya must be given adequate reparations.

Impunity for military abuse cannot be good for the nation of Myanmar or its future.

 

In the News

Speaking of Senator McConnell, here is a strong op-ed on the delay mentioned above.

Public Television ran a three-part series on the suffering of Rohingya women in the refugee camps, with a number of videos focusing on their suffering and exploitation. 

Concerns Regarding Military: The Burmese military also has an ongoing history of targeting other ethnic minorities and preventing a peace process in conflict regions of Burma.  On 1 May the UN Special Rapporteur to Burma voiced concern at reports that the army was conducting aerial bombing and directing artillery fire on civilian populated areas in Kachin State. The army has also prevented humanitarian relief from reaching Kachin civilians.

The United Nations has appointed an envoy to Myanmar, representing the Secretary General’s office. Previous candidates had been rejected by the government of Myanmar.

According to reports this week, Burmese Army leader continues to deny rape and other war crimes.

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