WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations and its Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific, released the following statement Monday after reported violence in Rakhine State, Burma:
“I am deeply concerned by what appears to be an escalation in violence in Rakhine State over this past weekend, which is home to Burma’s persecuted Rohingya ethnic minority. Burmese military helicopters are reported to have opened fire in so-called ‘clearance operations”, with dozens of Rohingya reportedly killed. It is far from clear how this new round of violence started, but the government of Burma must allow international monitors unfettered access into the area to help determine what happened. It is critical that the current violence does not continue to escalate.
“I am also concerned that, as the UN Special Rapporteur has noted, many humanitarian programs providing health, food, education and nutrition assistance in Rakhine face challenges, and full access by humanitarian and other groups has not been granted. I understand that the situation in Rakhine is extremely complex, but the plight of the Rohingya people remains a tremendous concern, and I call on Aung San Suu Kyi and her government to take necessary steps to end violence and the discrimination targeting the Rohingya, and to address the needs of all the people in Rakhine.”