Highlights current abuses of Rohingya Muslim population in Burma

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, spoke on the House floor in support of H. Res. 310, a resolution to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the genocide at Srebrenica in Bosnia and Herzegovina.  The resolution was introduced by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations.
Below is the text of Chairman Royce’s remarks (as prepared for delivery):
Twenty years ago this month, in Srebrenica, Bosnian Serb forces transformed what was supposed to be UN safe haven for refugees into an extermination camp.
On that July day, over 8,000 men and boys were massacred.  Serb forces compiled detailed lists of those targeted for killing – separated families – and drove these young Muslim men to various fields where they were summarily executed.
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia later ruled that this was an act of genocide.  And rightly so.
We do not know the names of many victims, as these killers took extensive measures to cover their crimes.  As a result, families have never found their missing relatives, and experts continue to uncover and identify remains at the scenes of these mass shootings.
Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan has said that this tragedy will “haunt the United Nations forever.”
Although it occurred 20 years ago, this massacre continues to hinder progress towards peace in this troubled region.
For while Serbia’s President has apologized for “crimes” committed at Srebrenica, he and other Serbian officials still refuse to admit the true extent of the brutality.
Today’s resolution encourages Serbian authorities to publicly acknowledge the genocide that occurred, which would constitute a major step forward in restoring relations with its neighbor.
This resolution also reaffirms U.S. policy to oppose mass atrocities in the strongest terms, whenever and wherever they occur.
But of course, the Srebrenica genocide, along others in Rwanda, Cambodia and Darfur, are stark reminders that simply saying “never again” will never be enough.
Action is needed.  Demanded – as around the world violent conflicts threaten to erupt once more into genocidal campaigns.
Ongoing abuses against the Rohingya Muslim population in Burma have caused human rights advocates to sound the alarm over a “grave risk of additional mass atrocities and even genocide.”
Unable to claim citizenship in Burma or elsewhere, and under constant threat of violence, many have called the Rohingyas “the most persecuted minority in the world,” leading thousands upon thousands to flee their homes in overloaded boats.  That is why I helped lead the effort last Congress to pass H.Res.418, calling for an end to the persecution of the Rohingya people.
In Sri Lanka, anti-Muslim riots broke out last June, killing four and injuring dozens more.  Acting with impunity under the Rajapaksa government, extremist forces destroyed mosques and Muslim businesses, displacing thousands. Under the Sirisena government, however, we have an opportunity to press for positive change and inclusivity.
Extremist groups are similarly targeting minority communities in Syria, the Central African Republic and Burundi.
So while we absolutely must remember past atrocities, we are charged with doing all we can to stop today’s violence.  I don’t want future Congresses having to memorialize atrocities from our era.