Administrator Samantha Power on Designation of Atrocities Against Rohingya as Genocide

March 21st, 2022  •  Author:   United States Agency for International Development  •  3 minute read
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Statement by Administrator Samantha Power

For Immediate Release

Monday, March 21, 2022
Office of Press Relations

Today, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken announced that the United States has determined that the Burmese military committed genocide and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya people.

All of us are grateful for the committed and forceful advocacy of Rohingya survivors of this genocide—survivors who have already demonstrated unimaginable resilience and bravery in the face of horror—as well as a range of organizations who have worked to document the Burmese military’s crimes. Genocide is the intentional attempt to destroy a group of people, and the evidence that the Burmese military sought to eradicate the Rohingya is extensive and searing. As a result of the military’s atrocities, women were forced to  gather their families and flee under cover of darkness. Young children witnessed their families slaughtered, and their parents assaulted. From Burma to Bangladesh, hundreds of thousands of survivors have left behind the lives they knew, forced to choose the uncertainty of escape over the certain death of staying behind.

Today’s genocide determination is an important step in bringing accountability on behalf of Rohingya survivors and victims. As Secretary Blinken noted, the United States is supporting the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar and sharing information with The Gambia to support the case it is pursuing against Burma under the Genocide Convention at the International Court of Justice. The United States is also the world’s leading donor in providing the survivors of this genocide with life-saving assistance. We provide urgent humanitarian assistance to nearly one million Rohingya refugees who currently live in Bangladesh—in the world’s largest refugee settlement in Cox’s Bazar district—as well as the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya and millions of other conflicted-affected people who remain in Burma.

Working alongside our partners, USAID and the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration will continue to provide food, livelihoods, nutrition, and protection services, among other assistance, to millions of refugees, IDPs and host community members throughout Burma and across the Cox’s Bazar district. And we will continue to do everything possible to support the 620,000 ethnic Rohingya who remain in Rakhine State in Burma where their lives continue to be severely restricted.

In recognizing these atrocities as genocide, we acknowledge not just the horrific nature of the violence perpetrated by the Burmese military, but our obligation to support the Rohingya in their pursuit of justice.

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