Senator Collins Joins Bipartisan Group in Introducing Resolution Condemning Atrocities Against Rohingya in Burma

Resolution urges Trump Administration to make a determination on whether crimes committed by the Burmese military amount to genocide, encourages sanctions against responsible senior Burmese military officials

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) joined Senators Edward J. Markey (D-MA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) today in introducing a bipartisan resolution that highlights the horrific acts of violence against the Rohingya people in Burma. Underscoring the ongoing humanitarian crisis that followed the brutal crackdown by Burmese security elements in Rohingya communities in 2017, the resolution calls for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to make a determination on whether these crimes constitute genocide.


Earlier this month, the Public International Law and Policy Group released a report detailing the atrocities and calling for tribunals for those responsible for the genocide. Additionally, an August United Nations report found that Myanmar’s military carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingyas with “genocidal intent” and made the case for prosecuting its commander-in-chief and five generals under international law. The Trump Administration has yet to label the crimes against the Rohingya a genocide, instead calling it “ethnic cleansing.”


“The well documented campaign of atrocities committed against the Rohingya people in Rakhine State appears to have been premediated and coordinated by Burmese military and security forces, and should be condemned by the international community for what it was: genocide.  Hundreds of thousands of people have fled to Bangladesh amidst horrendous acts of violence and threats of violence, and these refugees carry with them unimaginable stories of cruelty and depravity,” said Senator Collins.  “Our bipartisan resolution, which urges the Administration to make a determination on whether these crimes constitute genocide, would help garner continued international pressure on the Burmese military and government.”


This resolution also stresses the importance of imposing additional sanctions on senior Burmese officials complicit in carrying out the violence. It encourages Facebook and other social media platforms to counter hate speech that foments ethnic division in Burma. The resolution also encourages the administration to maintain the United States’ leadership in contributing to the humanitarian response that has aided Bangladesh’s efforts to absorb the 730,000 people who fled the violence last year. Finally, the resolution calls for the Burmese government to release Wa Lone and Kyaw Saw Oo, two Reuters journalists who were convicted earlier this year after reporting on the military’s human rights abuses against the Rohingya.


Introduction of the bipartisan resolution follows passage of similar legislation introduced by Representative Steve Chabot (OH-01) that passed last week in the House of Representatives by a vote of 394 to 1. 


 A copy of the resolution can be found HERE.