Press Release

August 26, 2019
Cardin, Young, Engel, Chabot Call for Accountability on Second Anniversary of Rohingya Genocide

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, Special Representative on Anti-Semitism, Racism, and Intolerance for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Parliamentary Assembly joined Senator Young (R-Ind.), House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Congressman Steve Chabot (R-Ohio) to release the following statement on the Burmese military’s genocide against the Rohingya minority in Rakhine State, Burma:

 “Two years ago, the Burmese military began a premeditated campaign of murder, rape, and other brutal atrocities against the Rohingya, which forced over 700,000 Rohingya, many of them women and children, to flee to Bangladesh. There has yet to be any meaningful accountability for these crimes, crimes that we believe amount to genocide. Today, the Burmese military continues to terrorize Burma’s other ethnic minorities, as it has for decades. These atrocities demand justice. 
“We have worked to advance bipartisan, bicameral legislation to: apply financial sanctions against Burmese military leaders responsible for these crimes, require a determination by the State Department as to the nature of these crimes, and to advance broad-based economic development in Burma. For far too long, the military has exploited Burma’s natural resources for their enrichment, rather than for the benefit of the people of Burma to whom they rightfully belong. 
“This legislation passed the House as part of the FY2020 NDAA. We urge our colleagues to work with us to ensure that it is included in the final bill. 

“We also urge the Administration to use all the tools at its disposal to hold accountable the perpetrators of these crimes, beyond the limited sanctions already imposed. The Secretary of State should label these crimes appropriately, calling them genocide, war crimes, or crimes against humanity. Acknowledging what has occurred is a necessary step in achieving some measure of justice for the victims.”
Additional background: 

  • Chairman Engel and Congressman Chabot are the lead sponsors of H.R.3190, the Burma Unified through Rigorous Military Accountability (BURMA) Act of 2019.
  • Senator Cardin and Senator Young are the lead sponsors of S.1186, the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2019.
  • Operative provisions of the BURMA Act were included in H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2020 which passed the House on July 12, 2019.