September 21, 2018

Ahead of UN Meeting, Menendez Calls on Pompeo to Release Rohingya Report

WASHINGTON – Senator Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, last night sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging him to make public the State Department report detailing the atrocities the Myanmar government  committed against the Rohingya people, and to refer the findings of the report for appropriate legal determination and action. Releasing the report now, during the ongoing session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), is an opportunity to “demonstrate our strong commitment for accountability for the actions of the Burmese military,” the Senator noted in his letter.

Just last week the U.N. Fact Finding Mission on Myanmar (UNFFM) released its full report on human rights abuses in Myanmar (Burma) which found that “The horrors inflicted on Rohingya men, women and children during the August 2017 operations, including their indiscriminate killing, rise to the level of both war crimes and crimes against humanity...[and]....The crimes themselves, and the manner in which they were perpetrated, were found to be similar in nature, gravity and scope to those that have allowed for genocidal intent to be established in other contexts.”

“A public release of the report will send a clear message to the Burmese authorities and the international community that the United States is committed to pursuing accountability for the Rohingya men, women and children subjected to the world’s most heinous crimes,” added Menendez in stating a public release of the State Department’s report would be an important opportunity for the United States to add an authoritative set of findings to the discussion about the Rohingya.

The full text of the letter can be found here and below:

 

The Honorable Michael Pompeo

Secretary of State

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street NW

Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Pompeo:

As you prepare your agenda next week for the 73rd United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), we strongly urge you to publically release the State Department’s report on the atrocities committed against the Rohingya since August 2017.  Releasing the report will demonstrate our strong commitment for accountability for the actions of the Burmese military in what appears to have been a well-orchestrated, brutal, and sustained campaign to cleanse Myanmar of a religious and ethnic minority, the Rohingya.

We commend the State Department’s leadership and its extensive efforts under your leadership in investigating and documenting the scope and nature of the atrocities committed against the Rohingya.  The Department’s report is an important tool in the effort to advance accountability for these crimes and signal solidarity and compassion for the thousands of victims. In addition to the importance of the report for both executive branch and congressional policy consideration as we consider the best path forward with our Burma policy, a public release of the report will send a clear message to the Burmese authorities and the international community that the United States is committed to pursuing accountability for the Rohingya men, women and children subjected to the world’s most heinous crimes.

We welcome your continued public engagement on this matter of moral and historical importance. 

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