Chairman Crowley Statement on Escalating Violence in Burma’s Rakhine State

September 5, 2017
Press Release

(Washington, DC) –  Today, House Democratic Caucus Chairman Joe Crowley (D-NY) issued the following statement on the escalating violence in Burma’s Rakhine State:

“I am deeply concerned by the horrific violence taking place in Burma’s Rakhine State. The situation is incredibly disturbing and the State Department and Trump administration should take action at the highest levels to encourage de-escalation, urge neighboring countries to accept refugees, and foster steps toward stability and peace. I also appeal to the government of Bangladesh and other regional leaders to accept those seeking refuge and for Burma’s authorities to assist and protect those fleeing internally.

“Burma’s Commander in Chief Min Aung Hlaing should urgently exercise restraint in response to attacks, including respecting the rights of Rohingya, as well as Buddhists and others in Rakhine State. The number of those fleeing, as well as interviews with refugees, raise obvious concerns that this restraint has not been exercised so far. Actions reportedly taken by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army are also disturbing. And while those who harm others should be stopped, this cannot justify a response that harms innocent civilians.

“Going forward, many of the recommendations from former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State should lay the groundwork for peace efforts. Those include strengthening the justice system on the ground, ensuring functioning rule of law, and advancing smooth provision of medical assistance and humanitarian aid. As the Commission pointed out, “a highly-militarized response is unlikely to bring peace to the area.”