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Amnesty International Makes A Grave Mistake


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Thank Rep. Eliot Engel for Championing the Cause of Rohingyas
Phone Number: (202) 225-2464

Talking Points:

  • Thank you for championing the cause of Rohingyas in the House.
  • His amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), similar to his legislation (HR 5819) he introduced and passed out of the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week, demonstrates a sincere approach seeking accountability of the Burmese military for their genocidal actions towards the Rohingya community.
  • These are good first steps, yet the Rohingya genocide deserves more action. The full Burma economic sanctions in place prior to their elimination in late 2016 by President Obama were effective in helping the democratic reforms in 2015 and 2016 come to fruition. Only full economic sanctions being brought to bear against Burma will help to reverse the ability of bad actors currently in power from continuing their warfare and gross human rights violations against the Rohingya and other ethnic and religious Burma minorities.

Amnesty International Messed Up:

The well-known and respected aid organization Amnesty International has issued a report which shifts the conversation away from Burmese military committing genocide to Rohingya militants killing and converting Hindus. We need to refocus on Burmese genocidal policies.

This is a major public relations bonanza for the genocidal Burmese regime. It puts 60,000 Rohingyas in India even at more risk than they already are.

The Amnesty International report presents, as fact, evidence and conclusions that are both seriously questionable, and by doing so it aids the propaganda efforts of a regime whose every action suggests it is bent on carrying out genocide.

Recently Amnesty International has been dealing with serious internal tensions and conflict, which has led to a broader disorganization in its operations. This makes it easier to produce reports, such as this one, that are not up to the objective standards of global NGOs.

Please tweet to the reporters in the media, compose a letter to the editor, and use online comment features to respond:

Talking Points with the media:

Remind media in response to this report the following facts:

  • Burmese government does not allow access to anyone in Rakhine where the genocide occurred. The United Nations’ human rights investigator, Yanghee Lee, has been barred from entering Burma, along with a three-person UN fact finding mission. Journalists and independent observers have been similarly blocked from accessing large areas of Rakhine. In December, two reporters for Reuters were arrested in Rangoon (Yangon) while reporting on the Rohingya crisis, and face 14 years in jail.
  • How come then Amnesty was allowed this limited access zone where no other human rights organizations are allowed to visit?
  • Hindu Rohingyas just like Muslim Rohingyas can’t travel freely. They need permits like Muslim Rohingya..
  • Burmese authorities brought the Hindu Rohingyas from Northern Rakhine to Sittwe in the south for Amnesty’s interviews.
  • We are opposed to the Arakhan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA.) However, why would they kill Hindu Rohingyas who live with Muslim Rohingyas and are friends to each other and fled to Bangladesh together? If ARSA wants they could attack all Rakhines’ Buddhist s whom they have been in conflict with, as most Rakhines treat them like their enemies. Hindus were always our good friends.
  • Whereas we don’t believe Amnesty is openly corrupt, their report seems to show a very credulous willingness on their part to take at face value what was almost certainly staged evidence/witnesses as part of a disinformation campaign from the Myanmar authorities. They’ve done this before and been caught red-handed:
  • It is very important to consider that this report is entirely based on a single, closely managed production carefully orchestrated by the Myanmar authorities. Importantly, only two particular Amnesty workers were chosen by the government to participate in these interviews and to be shown the “evidence” of Rohingya Muslim attacks. Why were these specific people chosen?
  • Why were they not allowed to travel anywhere or investigate anything else freely, and they were only shown what the government wanted them to see and only spoke to those to whom the government wanted them to speak?
  • It seems very convenient that these special witnesses interviewed by Amnesty provide the exact talking points the government and military have been pushing since last fall.
  • The Amnesty report is a recklessly irresponsible example of an otherwise valuable impulse, namely to fairly present both sides of a controversy. But in this case one side almost certainly is staging fake evidence to support its official narrative, and even if it wasn’t, it is in any case seriously misguided to think the two sides are evenly remotely proportional.
  • Whether they mean to or not, Amnesty International is in effect colluding with a genocidal regime.

If you are a donor of Amnesty or a volunteer, tell this to Amnesty as you raise these questions with them.

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