“And they took vengeance against them only because they had believed in One God alone, the Overpowering One, the All-Praised.”
—The Quran, 85:8
(WASHINGTON, DC – 3/21/2022) – The U.S. Council of Muslim Organizations (USCMO), the nation’s umbrella group for major national, regional, and local American Muslim organizations, commends President Biden’s administration for Sectary of State Antony Blinken’s formal declaration today condemning the Myanmar military for its 2017 ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya people with “a clear intent behind these mass atrocities – the intent to destroy Rohingya, in whole or in part.”
Blinken made the statement, appropriately, at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
“Beyond the Holocaust, the United States has concluded that genocide was committed seven times,” Blinken said. “Today marks the eighth, because I’ve determined that members of the Burmese military committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Rohingya.”
He said the U.S. declaration comes after a 14-month “factual assessment and legal analysis prepared by the State Department,” and that it “included detailed documentation by a range of independent impartial sources, including human rights organizations like Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch.”
“We commend President Biden and Secretary Blinken’s follow through on the campaign pledge to reopen the U.S.’s investigation of the Burmese military’s mass killing of the Rohingya,” said Oussama Jammal, USCMO secretary-general.
“We also do not want to forget Senator Jeff Merkley of the Foreign Relations Committee for leading a U.S. fact-finding delegation in Myanmar and Bangladesh immediately after the Rohingya genocide five years ago.”
“They showed their conviction today by committing another $1 million to the UN’s Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar [IIMM] in Geneva,” he said. “It will build on the trove of evidence that the world can use in its essential future prosecutions of this genocide’s perpetrators. They should not get away scot-free.”
In addition to IIMM evidence gathering, USCMO member institutions and the American Muslim community fully support the ongoing International Court of Justice (ICJ) investigation against Myanmar’s military brought by The Gambia, as well as the International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation of Myanmar’s Rohingya deportation.
We call on the U.S. and the world community leaders to four actions:
- Ramp up economic sanctions on Myanmar’s military government and officers
- Press for a UN Security Council resolution referring the Myanmar military’s alleged crimes against the Rohingya and other peoples to the ICC, and take it to the general assembly in case of Chinese or Russian vetoes
- Continue the investigation into Myanmar’s full government – including not only its military but also its civilian leadership – at the time of the Rohingya genocide
- Secure the full return, with reparations, of the nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and other countries, and the restoration to their homes of at least 559,000 internally displaced Rohingya in Myanmar.
The prayers and support of American Muslims for justice and for their return to Burma remain with the Rohingya.