By / Aug 19

The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) led a multi-faith letter calling for the U.S. Department of State to designate the continued brutal oppression of the Rohingya as a genocide.

For decades, the Burmese government has repeatedly violated the human rights of ethnic minority groups including the Chin, Kachin, Karen, Rakhine, Rohingya, and Shan, by suppressing religious freedom, arbitrarily arresting and torturing civilians, and attacking innocent women and children. The Rohingya specifically have faced restriction of citizenship, revoking of temporary registration cards, and have been targeted with ethnic cleansing.

Since 2017, many Rohingya have been displaced and have fled to neighboring countries for refuge, most notably, Bangladesh. However, when the United Nations Independent International Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) met with the refugees, they learned that most of the refugees are desperate to return home but must stay trapped in the refugee settlement, Cox’s Bazar District, because of widespread persecution and violence.

Issuing a genocide determination is wholly consistent with the foreign policy goals directed toward East Asia, and it is the United State’s responsibility to both protect the victims of genocide anywhere in the world and to prosecute the perpetrators of genocide.

A genocide designation at this time, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, would also help in bringing much-needed attention and humanitarian assistance to the Rohingya.

Some notable signers include International Campaign for the Rohingya, 21Wilberforce, Bethany Christian Services, and International Christian Concern.