Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, today released the following statement on his plan to remove language from the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2018 (NDAA) that would expand military cooperation with Burma:
“Along with many Americans, I was encouraged by the historic 2015 elections in Burma that led to a successful transition of power to a civilian government and I was optimistic that it would provide an opportunity for greater engagement with the United States. That’s why the Senate Armed Services Committee included a provision in the committee-passed NDAA that would expand military-to-military cooperation between our countries. However, the circumstances have changed dramatically since the NDAA was passed out of committee in June.
“In just the last month, more than 370,000 Rohingya have fled their villages to escape persecution at the hands of the Burmese military – a campaign of violence and destruction that the United Nations has deemed a ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing.’ The international community has called upon Aung San Suu Kyi – who has long been a source of inspiration for democracy – to stop the violence and hold human rights abusers accountable, but there has been no action to-date.
“While I had hoped the NDAA could contribute to positive reform in Burma, I can no longer support expanding military-to-military cooperation given the worsening humanitarian crisis and human rights crackdown against the Rohingya people, and will seek to remove this language when the Senate begins debating the NDAA.”
View the original press release HERE.