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CAIR Urges President to Maintain Sanctions on Burma as Aung San Suu Kyi Visits White House

CAIR logo(WASHINGTON, D.C., 9/14/16) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization, is calling on President Obama to maintain all current sanctions on the government Burma (Myanmar), originally put in place because of that nation’s human rights abuses, until the citizenship rights of members of the Burmese Rohingya Muslim community are restored.

President Obama meets today with Burmese Foreign Minister and State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi during her first visit to the United States.

In a letter sent to the president, CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw wrote in part:

“As recently reported in the New York Times, about 150,000 Rohingya Muslims are being detained in what are reported as ‘Concentration Camps of the 21st Century.’ As a result of state sponsored and communal anti-Rohingya violence, displaced Muslims have been forced by the government and mobs into ‘refugee’ and ‘resettlement’ camps that they are not free to leave.

“These imprisoned refugees are fed diets of less than 2,000 calories a day and not provided adequate access to healthcare or education. This has led to many Rohingya Muslims starving and suffering from ailments due to malnutrition and hunger.

“In 1984, Rohingya Muslims citizens of the Burmese state had their citizenship revoked without cause. Burmese officials today deny the very existence of Rohingya Muslims as an official recognized ethnicity in Burma. The United Nations today has determined that Rohingya Muslims are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

“In your meetings with Minister Suu Kyi, CAIR requests that you raise the issue of Rohingya refugees as well as ask her to lift the ban on aid allowing all international relief organizations to freely operate in the Burmese state of Rakhine. We also ask that you address the plight of the Rohingya in Burma during the September 19 United Nations summit for refugees.

“We recognize with great respect your past work in addressing the need to halt Burma state and communal violence against the very much persecuted Rohingya Muslim minority and trust that you will continue to speak out on this immediate and pressing cause.â€

The Washington-based Muslim civil rights group is asking Muslim community members to report any bias incidents to police and to CAIR's Civil Rights Department at 202-742-6420 or by filing a report at: 

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 misión de CAIR es mejorar la comprensión del Islam, fomentar el diálogo, proteger las libertades civiles, capacitar a los musulmanes estadounidenses, y construir coaliciones que promuevan la justicia y la comprensión mutua.

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CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Director Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448,; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726,

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