Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ) Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today sent a letter to State Counsellor of Burma Daw Aung San Suu Kyi requesting adherence to human rights obligations in response to atrocities being committed by the Burmese military against the Rohingya people.
“For decades, you have been a source of inspiration for all those who seek peace, freedom, and justice,” said Chairman McCain. “The Rohingya community has a long history in Burma and they have contributed significantly to your country’s unique social fabric. They deserve the same rights and protection as Burmese citizens. To move forward, I hope you will work towards a more cooperative relationship with the Rohingya and facilitate a path of genuine reconciliation and reform.”
The letter is below and here.
As your friend of many years, I write to you to express my growing concern over reports of ongoing and serious human rights abuses against the Rohingya population in the Rakhine state. Credible human rights organizations have documented armed attacks against Rohingya civilians by Burmese security forces and the deliberate destruction of Muslim villages throughout the area. The United Nations has further reported that at least 123,000 Rohingya have been forced from their homes in recent weeks due to an escalating military crackdown and that the government is denying vital humanitarian aid to the region. These incidents seem to be part of a systematic campaign of violence against the Rohingya people that may amount to crimes against humanity.
I understand that the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) submitted a formal request for access to the region, yet your government denied permission. This decision calls into question your government’s promise to protect fundamental freedoms and its willingness to undertake difficult reform efforts. Full cooperation with the UN inquiry will demonstrate your government’s commitment to its human rights obligations, and I encourage you to allow the UNHRC to undertake a full investigation into these troubling allegations. Despite heightened political and social tensions, respecting and also protecting the fundamental rights and freedoms of the Rohingya community and similarly vulnerable communities in Burma remains essential.
For decades, you have been a source of inspiration for those who seek peace, freedom, and justice. During our long friendship, I have admired your enduring courage and resilience in the face of the junta’s oppression. Now I encourage you to take an active role in putting a stop to this worsening humanitarian crisis as it spreads throughout the country. Use your remarkable voice to condemn the violence and atrocities the Rohingya suffer from your same oppressors. If you take steps to hold the military and other human rights violators accountable for their actions, you will have my full support and I will work with my colleagues in the Senate to ensure that your government has the assistance it requires to do so.
Burma stands at a critical juncture in its transition to a free and democratic state. Peace and stability will only be achieved when the rights of all peoples in Burma are respected. The Rohingya community has a long history in Burma and they have contributed significantly to your country’s unique social fabric. They deserve the same rights and protection as Burmese citizens. To move forward, I hope you will work towards a cooperative relationship with the Rohingya and facilitate a path of genuine reconciliation and reform.
I look forward to working with you to fulfill our collective humanitarian obligations, while continuing my support for your government’s ongoing political and economic reform efforts.
United States Senator
View the original press release HERE.