WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Wednesday known as on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to designate the Myanmar navy’s marketing campaign towards the Rohingya Muslim minority a genocide.
FILE PHOTO – Rohingya refugee youngsters stroll alongside the highway at Balukhali camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, November 16, 2018. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain
More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state for neighboring Bangladesh since August final 12 months, when assaults on safety posts by Rohingya insurgents triggered a navy crackdown that the United Nations, the United States, Britain and others described as ethnic cleaning.
Myanmar denies the accusations of ethnic cleaning.
“We are deeply concerned that despite clear evidence of genocide amassed by the Department’s own report … that the Department has not made a formal determination that the crime of genocide has been committed,” mentioned a letter to Pompeo from the senators, a replica of which was seen by Reuters.
In September, leaders of the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee known as on the Trump administration to declare the navy marketing campaign a genocide, days after a State Department report stopped brief of that description.
A declaration of genocide by the U.S. authorities may have authorized implications of committing Washington to stronger punitive measures towards Myanmar’s authorities, which is led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi. This has made some within the Trump administration cautious of issuing such an evaluation.
The areas the place the Rohingya lived in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State earlier than the military ousted them had been being dramatically reworked, making their return more and more unlikely, Reuters reported on Tuesday.
The senators requested Pompeo to offer a proper willpower concerning the actions of Myanmar’s navy.
“There is no question that the violence in northern Rakhine State – intended to terrorize, drive out, and exterminate Rakhine’s Rohingya population – meets the definition of genocide,” the letter mentioned.
Led by Senator Bob Menendez, the highest Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the letter was additionally signed by Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Susan Collins and Democratic Senators Ed Markey, Tim Kaine, Ben Cardin and Jeff Merkley.
Failing to formally label the actions a genocide would “deny truth-telling and accountability” for the Rohingya and “… would leave an indelible stain on our nation’s legacy of promoting and advancing human rights, dignity, and accountability,” the letter mentioned.
The United Nations Security Council is mulling a decision that the council may contemplate additional steps, together with sanctions, if there was not sufficient progress made by Myanmar in returning refugees, diplomats mentioned.
Reporting by Ginger Gibson; enhancing by Grant McCool