August 25, 2022 marks five years since members of Burma’s military embarked on a horrific campaign of genocide and terror against Rohingya in Burma. Burma’s military raped, tortured, and murdered thousands in their attempt to destroy the Rohingya people. As their villages were razed, women were forced to flee with their families, and many young children watched as their parents were assaulted or slaughtered.
The genocide sparked one of the largest mass migrations in recent history, driving more than 740,000 Rohingya – 400,000 of them children – out of the country. The survivors now face unimaginable consequences – displacement, trauma, and suffering. In response, the people of Bangladesh opened their doors and provided shelter to those fleeing, establishing the refugee settlement in Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh, now one of the world’s largest, hosting nearly one million refugees.
While the August 2017 attacks on the Rohingya people drew the attention of the world, Burma’s path to genocide began long before. Burma’s military has a long history of dehumanization and demonization of Rohingya as well as other ethnic minority groups. Since the most recent coup, the military continues to persecute the Rohingya people and violently crack down on civilians across all communities.
USAID denounces the actions of the military leaders who orchestrated the genocide and were responsible for overthrowing Burma’s democratically elected government in 2021. We acknowledge the horrific violence perpetrated against the Rohingya people, and are outraged by the slaughtering of peaceful protestors and the cold-blooded murder of pro-democracy champions.
On this day of mourning, we recommit to the Rohingya people that USAID will continue to support them in their time of need and in their quest for justice and accountability, as well as the generous communities who host them. All individuals, including the Rohingya, deserve justice, respect for their human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the ability to live their lives with dignity and hope for a peaceful future. The United States Government and the American people will not forget the Rohingya people who perished, and all who continue to suffer from the escalating violence perpetrated by Burma’s military.
Progressive Voice is a participatory rights-based policy research and advocacy organization rooted in civil society, that maintains strong networks and relationships with grassroots organizations and community-based organizations throughout Myanmar. It acts as a bridge to the international community and international policymakers by amplifying voices from the ground, and advocating for a rights-based policy narrative.