সেপ্টেম্বর ৮, ২০১৭

US Congress, Senate mount pressure on Myanmar, President Trump mum

Ed Royce

Leaders of both houses of the United States have started putting pressure on Myanmar and its de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi, though President Donald Trump remained silent over the violence in Rakhine State that has compelled over 270,000 Rohingyas to take shelter in Bangladesh.
US wants full implementation of Kofi Annan recommendations to address Rohingya issue
Powerful Republican Congressman Ed Royce, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, in his strongly worded letter to Suu Kyi said she has the responsibility to protect the civilians from the “atrocities” and end the violence.
On the other hand, a bipartisan resolution was jointly introduced on Thursday in the US Senate by Senators Dick Durbin (Democrat – Illinois) and John McCain (Republican – Arizona). It “condemns the violence and displacement inflicted on Burma’s Rohingya civilians and calls for an immediate halt to all hostilities by Burmese authorities”.
Chairman Royce in the letter wrote: “Your government and the military have a responsibility to protect all of the people of Myanmar, regardless of their ethnic background or religious beliefs.”
“These atrocities, the latest and most severe against this minority group, must end. Those responsible, regardless of their affiliation with the government or the military, must face justice.
“I urge your government and the military to end the violence against the Rohingya, allow unfettered humanitarian assistance into Rakhine State, and provide access for journalists.”
The congressman further wrote that the reports of atrocities against the Rohingya in Rakhine State “severely undermine past progress and greatly hinder our ability to form a deeper partnership with your government”.
“Simply put, Myanmar will fall far short of your aspirations until the fundamental human rights of all the people of Myanmar, including the Rohingya, are upheld”.
Myanmar’s security forces have reportedly been attacking the Rohingya Muslims in a bid to push them out of the state of Rakhine.
The attacks have intensified since Aug 25 following alleged armed attacks on police and military posts in Rakhine.
The Rohingya have been subject to communal violence by extremist Buddhists for years, forcing large groups of Muslims to take perilous journeys and seek refuge in Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries.
The UN says more than 270,000 Myanmar nationals have crossed the border into Bangladesh since the beginning of the latest wave of violence in Rakhine State.
Suu Kyi has come under fire for failing to protect the country’s Muslim minority from persecution. The Canadian prime minister, the EU high representative, and British foreign secretary have also expressed their concerns, apart from the leaders of Muslim countries.
The US State Department also expressed its concern. But neither President Trump nor Secretary of State Rex Tillerson made any comment on the atrocities.
The US senators — Dick Durbin and John McCain – in their bipartisan resolution condemning the horrific acts of violence called on Suu Kyi to live up to her “historic democratic and human rights ideals by taking action to stop this humanitarian tragedy”.
Senators Dianne Feinstein, Cory Booker, and Bob Menendez co-sponsored the resolution that once approved, could put significant pressure on the Myanmar government.
The key points of the resolution include: condemns the violence and displacement inflicted on Burma’s Rohingya civilians and calls for an immediate halt to all hostilities by Burmese authorities, and also condemns the attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army militant group.
It urges the Myanmar government to allow unrestricted access to the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar as well as resume the delivery of field work and aid from critical humanitarian organisations to help those displaced and injured and to monitor events in Rakhine State.
It also calls on the government of Burma to implement the August 2017 recommendations of its Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, including one to end restrictions on the movement of the Rohingya and provide them with citizenship.
A house is seen on fire in Gawduthar village, Maungdaw township, in the north of Rakhine state, Myanmar September 7, 2017. Picture taken September 7, 2017. Reuters
The resolution encourages Suu Kyi to live up to her inspiring words upon receiving the 2012 Nobel peace prize with respect to ethnic reconciliation in Burma, and in particular to address the historic and brutal repression of the Rohingya in Rakhine State.
The resolution says the “Rohingya are one of Burma’s many ethnic minorities that have lived under military dictatorship for most of the last few decades.”
“But they have faced ongoing repression under the Burmese military, including the revocation of their citizenship, killings, and mass rape.”
The UN Security Council earlier on Aug 31 met to discuss the violence against the Rohingya in Rakhine State.
 -bdnews24.com

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