Chairman Royce Applauds House Passage of Burma Human Rights Legislation

May 7, 2014

Protests Abuse of Rohingya Muslims

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, applauded House passage of H. Res. 418.  The bipartisan legislation, authored by Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA), urges the Government of Burma to end the persecution of the Rohingya people and respect internationally recognized human rights for all ethnic and religious minority groups within Burma.

On the House floor, Chairman Royce delivered the following statement in support of the resolution’s passage:

"Thank you, Mr. Speaker, I rise in support of H. Res. 418, a bipartisan resolution offered by the Gentleman from Massachusetts, Mr. McGovern, calling on the Government of Burma to end its persecution of the Rohingya Muslims and respect the human rights of all ethnic and religious minority groups within Burma.

“The Rohingya Muslims are one of the most persecuted minority groups in the world. According to Burma’s 1982 citizenship law, the Rohingya are prohibited from holding Burmese citizenship, even though they have lived in Burma for generations upon generations.  For over three decades, the Government of Burma has systematically denied the Rohingya even the most basic of human rights, while subjecting them to unspeakable abuses.        

“Since 2012, 140,000 Rohingya and other Muslims in Burma have been displaced by violence with hundreds killed.  On January 13, unknown assailants entered a village in Rakhine State and killed 48 people while they slept.  This is what happens when a government refuses to recognize its own people.  In fact, a nongovernmental organization based in Southeast Asia recently disclosed credible documents detailing the full extent of state involvement in persecuting Rohingyas. 

“Not long ago, the Government of Burma expelled Doctors Without Borders from the country, denying Rohingya Muslims basic health services.”

“The Government of Burma cannot claim progress toward meeting its goals for reform if it does not improve the treatment of Rohingya Muslims and other minority groups. 

“The United States must prioritize the protection of human rights in its engagement with Burma.  I urge the State Department to take off the rose-colored glasses and recognize that progress on human rights in Burma is indeed limited.” 

 

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