Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today praised the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for advancing the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2017 (S.2060) and urged the full Senate to pass the bill without delay. The legislation would provide humanitarian assistance to Rohingya refugees and impose sanctions on senior Burmese military leaders responsible for crimes committed against the Rohingya.
“We are encouraged by the committee’s vote and urge the Senate to bring the bill to a floor vote without delay in order to address the current humanitarian and human rights crises afflicting the Rohingya people,” said Homer Venters, MD, PHR’s director of programs, who traveled to Bangladesh in December with a team of doctors to document evidence of physical and sexual violence against the Rohingya. “We urge the House to act with similar urgency to pass the companion bill, H.R. 4223.”
Dr. Venters added, “These legislative initiatives are a critical step toward accountability and making clear that the United States will not tolerate violence against the Rohingya. The Trump administration must follow through to exert pressure on Myanmar to end the persecution of the Rohingya people.”
PHR recently voiced concern over an agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar to repatriate hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees who fled brutal violence in Myanmar, characterizing the accord as a failure to ultimately address issues of accountability and safety.
Led by Dr. Venters, PHR will be returning to conduct a follow-up investigation in the refugee camps in Bangladesh in the coming weeks.