Strongly condemning the attacks on civilians and security forces in Burma’s Rakhine state, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) called Aung San Suu Kyi to denounce the atrocities against Rohingya.
“We call upon Burma’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi to unequivocally condemn the atrocities committed against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State”, said USCIRF’s Chairman Daniel Mark in a statement on Monday.
USCIRF, an independent, bipartisan US federal government commission, reviews the facts and circumstances of religious freedom violations in countries and makes policy recommendations to the US president, the secretary of state, and congress.
The commission strongly urges Burma to collaborate with international partners like the United Nations and humanitarian aid organizations, as well as regional stakeholders such as Bangladesh and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations to ensure that Rohingya Muslims and other vulnerable populations immediately receive adequate resources and compassionate care.
In the statement, USCIRF chairman referred that hundreds were killed in the recent violence in Rakhine state while nearly 300,000 Rohingya Muslims fled from the brutality to neighboring Bangladesh. This number is expected to grow in the days and weeks ahead.
“For decades, Bangladesh has given shelter to Rohingya refugees, estimated at as many as 500,000 people before the latest crisis,” said the chairman, adding that the violence and persecution in Burma have driven nearly 400,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh in the last year alone.
He mentioned that Burma’s security forces have razed entire villages, slaughtered families, and even placed landmines in the path of fleeing refugees, creating “a staggering humanitarian disaster.
The USCIRF chair urged the Burma’s government and military to uphold their international humanitarian and human rights commitments and end their attacks on civilians in Rakhine state.
He said beginning on August 25 and rapidly escalating ever since, Burma’s security forces have conducted disproportionate and indiscriminate attacks against Rohingya Muslims, conflating the unlawful and deadly acts of a few with the overwhelmingly peaceful population now fleeing for its life.
“Collectively, innocent Rohingya and Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and others in Rakhine state all suffer from the violence,” Mark said.
He also condemned the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army’s violent actions against state forces.