Despite heartening news of political reforms in Burma, recurring violence and looming humanitarian crises raise questions of the government’s ability and willingness to protect civilians.
United Nations officials and independent human rights groups have reported evidence of direct state complicity in ethnic cleansing and severe human rights abuses, blocking of humanitarian aid and incitement of anti-Muslim violence, constituting ominous warning signs of genocide.
Rohingya Muslims forced from their homes and living in camps
Susceptible to state-led mass killing
Rohingya have fled Burma by boat since 2012
Not Just a Name, A People at Risk of Genocide
The 1.3 million Rohingya have been denied citizenship and stripped of all rights. They are forced to live in Apartheid conditions where they cannot travel, work or even marry without permission. Over 140,000 were forced into concentration camps after their homes and villages were burnt to the ground in 2012, and remain there today.
The government of Burma denies their very existence, prohibiting the use of their name and pressuring foreign officials not even to utter the word Rohingya. According to Burma’s President Thein Sein, “There are no Rohingya” in Burma.”
As Burma’s government persecutes the Rohingya and denies their existence, the precursors to genocide are loud and clear.
Lost at Sea: Rohingya Fleeing the Threat of Genocide
The Rohingya are fleeing the threat of genocide — and they are being cast back into the sea. Without immediate action, they are going to die.
Thousands of ethnic minority Rohingya from Burma are at sea trapped in crowded wooden boats. With food and clean water running low, their lives are in grave danger.
Instead of heading their cries for help and rescuing these people fleeing for their lives, Burma’s neighbors are pushing these rickety boats back to sea.
Act now. Ask the United States to help launch immediate search and rescue operations. As one of the most influential voices in the region the U.S. must also demand that Burma’s neighbors offer refugees emergency assistance and protect the Rohingya so they won’t have to flee.
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