Merkley Statement on Anniversary of Rohingya Genocide

Washington, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley released the following statement on the sixth anniversary of the Rohingya Genocide: 

“Today, we commemorate the sixth anniversary of the Burmese military’s horrific crimes against the Rohingya. I’ll never forget the painful stories from members of the Rohingya community when I traveled to Burma and Bangladesh in 2017—stories of unspeakable violence and crimes against humanity that are part of decades of violence, discrimination, and marginalization. I left that trip committed to ensuring the U.S. recognized these actions for what they were: genocide.  

“In March 2022, the U.S. government finally recognized that the Burmese military committed genocide and crimes against humanity against ethnic Rohingya. This was an important step forward, but now we must take more action in line with this determination. I will continue to work with my colleagues in Congress and the whole U.S. government to protect and bring accountability for the Rohingya – who have long suffered persecution even before the events of 2017 – because lasting peace can only be achieved when the root causes of these crimes are acknowledged and addressed. 

“The international community must never stay silent in the face of grave human rights abuses.” 

In 2017, Merkley led the first congressional delegation to Burma and Bangladesh to investigate the Rohingya genocide. Since then, Merkley has worked tirelessly to sound the alarm on the erosion of democracy and human rights for all communities in Burma. He’s led a bipartisan resolution condemning the coup and calling for an immediate return to democratic governance grounded in respect for civil liberties. Provisions similar to Merkley’s BURMA Act were included in the FY23 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Merkley has called for the imposition of sanctions to cut off revenues from the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE) since April 2021. He has also led letters calling for multiple U.S. administrations to recognize the genocide against the Rohingya in Burma as well as for Burma’s neighbors, Thailand and Bangladesh, to build upon their existing efforts to help Rohingya refugees and ameliorate the humanitarian crisis within Burma.    ###