WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Representative Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY-5), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, today issued the following joint statement in observance of the fourth anniversary of the Rohingya Genocide:
“It has been four years since the Burmese military launched its genocidal attack on the Rohingya. Today we call on the Biden administration to make a formal determination that these crimes constitute genocide.
“Four years ago the Tatmadaw started a campaign to systematically attack hundreds of thousands of Rohingya, killing thousands and raping an untold number of women and girls. These crimes have been documented by numerous independent groups as well as a UN fact-finding mission and the US Department of State.
“Our failure to recognize these attacks for what they are and to demand accountability fueled the military’s sense of impunity and emboldened its decision to pursue a coup earlier this year, and has enabled others in the international community to likewise turn a blind eye to the military’s abuses.
“We welcome the steps that the Biden administration has taken in response to the coup – including targeted sanctions on the military and military-owned enterprises – as well as Secretary Blinken’s announcement earlier this year that he is carrying out a review of a Rohingya genocide determination.
“But a genocide determination can no longer wait.
“It is long since time to recognize the Burmese military’s crimes for what they are and to utilize that recognition to spur further global pressure against the Tatmadaw, both on behalf of the Rohingya and for the other ethnic and national groups in Myanmar facing abuse and repression.
“Today, we stand in solidarity with the Rohingya in Burma and the nearly 900,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, the largest refugee settlement in the world. We are grateful to the people and government of Bangladesh for their generosity in hosting Rohingya refugees and urge Bangladesh to pursue policies that will best protect and empower them and prepare them for the day when they may eventually return to their homeland in safety.”