(WASHINGTON, D.C., 12/3/13) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on members of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee to support the adoption of a resolution urging the Government of Burma (Myanmar) to end the persecution of its Rohingya minority and respect internationally recognized human rights for all ethnic and religious groups within Burma.
House Resolution 418, offered by Representative James McGovern (D-MA) is in response to the ongoing campaign of violence and attempted ethnic cleansing by Burmese national extremists of the minority Rohingya Muslim community. This campaign of violence has taken the lives of more than 1,000 Rohingya and other Muslims and left more than 140,000 displaced, living in makeshift camps both in Burma and in neighboring states.
Representing four percent of the population of Burma, the Rohingya are classified non-citizens by the Burmese government. Due to government restrictions on the movements of the Rohingya, individuals residing in Burmese camps have been prevented by local police and military from traveling for outside medical treatment or food.
Since 1994, in the western state of Rakhine, the Rohingya have been prevented from marrying by local administrations that refuse marriage licenses and penalize unauthorized cohabitation and reproduction. It has been reported that the state of Rakhine has imposed a two-child limit on Rohingya Muslim families, a policy that does not apply to Buddhists in the same regions.
In a letter sent today to Chairman Royce and Ranking Member Engel, CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw wrote in part:
The United States should urge the government of Burma to take actions to ensure the safety, security, and equal citizenship rights of the Rohingya and all other minorities. This includes the nation of Burma repealing restrictions on marriage, two-child limits on Rohingya families, stopping mass arrests of Rohingya, and providing care for displaced persons.
CAIR’s letter also encouraged the House Foreign Affairs Committee to consider tying U.S. funds that go to support political and economic development projects in Burma to the government of Burma fully investigating civilian, religious, and state leaders connected to sectarian violence and persecuting them to the fullest extent of the law.
CAIR has provides a click and send letter addressed to your House representative urging them to support the adoption of House Resolution 418 and urge their colleagues on the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee to do the same.
Last year, CAIR called on President Obama to use his visit to Burma to address the systematic persecution of that nation’s Rohingya Muslim minority. CAIR also sent letters to the governments of Burma and Bangladesh seeking protection for Rohingya Muslims who faced a renewed wave of ethnic and religious persecution.
CAIR is a member of The Burma Task Force USA. 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.