(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/24/2018) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest civil rights and advocacy organization, is urging all Americans of conscience to contact their elected representatives in Congress and encourage them to support a bipartisan resolution 376 introduced by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) condemning the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslims in Burma (Myanmar).
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On January 23, 2018, Senators Merkley, Todd Young (R-IN), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and John McCain (R-AZ) introduced bipartisan S.Res.376 condemning the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya and called for the “safe, dignified, voluntary and sustainable return” of the displaced refugees.
They were joined by Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Dick Durbin (D-IL), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Tina Smith (D-MN), and Chris Coons (D-DE).
“We welcome this strong bipartisan stance against the human rights abuses suffered by Rohingya Muslim families and children. It is time that the Burmese government and military are held accountable for their ethnic cleansing, and for the Rohingya refugees to safety return home with dignity, respect and full rights as citizens,” said Government Affairs Department Coordinator Amineh Safi.
In November 2017, Sen. Merkley led a congressional fact-finding mission to Burma and Bangladesh where he heard first-hand accounts of systematic rape, murder, and children’s stories of seeing their houses burned down by the Burmese military.
“Kabir*, male, nine years old and Hadi*, male, 11 years old, missing presumed dead; recounted by their father Hakim*, male, 41 years old. ”˜When the military came to our village they told us to go in our house and stay there. If we didn’t comply, they said, they would beat us up. So I took my four children and wife inside. Then they set our house on fire with us still in it. We panicked and tried to get out of our house, but everything happened so quickly. I saw my six-year-old daughter’s skirt on fire, so I grabbed her and ran out of the house. My wife and 12-year-old son also made it out of our house, but we lost two of our children in the chaos. I still don’t know what happened to them. I fear that they didn’t make it out of the house in time and were burned alive. As people tried to run away the military attacked them with machetes. We all ran away as fast as we could. It took us 15 days to get to Bangladesh. The whole way my daughter was crying. She needs urgent medical attention. She has really bad burns on her upper legs and in her genital area. She is in so much pain.’”
SEE: “HORRORS I WILL NEVER FORGET”
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
La misiÃ³n de CAIR es mejorar la comprensiÃ³n del Islam, fomentar el diÃ¡logo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensiÃ³n mutua.
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