Press Releases

Washington, D.C. ­– U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement today on the State Department’s decision to declare the persecution of the Rohingya community in Burma as “ethnic cleansing”:

“The State Department's decision to condemn the Burmese military’s persecution of the Rohingya community as ‘ethnic cleansing’ is welcome, if long overdue. This statement makes clear the United States’ policy toward these crimes against humanity and must lead to demanding more accountability. The next step should be targeted sanctions against the military officials responsible for these atrocities, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to advance the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2017.  

“The scale of destruction in Burma has been staggering. The military's brutal campaign has left hundreds of innocent men, women, and children dead, forced more than 600,000 from their homes, and razed dozens of villages through scorched-earth tactics intended to cleanse the Rakhine State of the entire Rohingya community. As a longtime supporter of Aung San Suu Kyi's struggle for freedom and human rights, I have expressed my disappointment in her failure to condemn these atrocities and called on her to take action to stop this humanitarian tragedy.

“We cannot let another massacre occur as the world stands by and watches. The United States has a moral obligation to do all it can to prevent mass atrocities and make clear to those responsible for ethnic cleansing in Burma – and those who look to do the same elsewhere – that their actions will not be tolerated. Let this be the first step in ending impunity in Burma and holding all human right abusers accountable.”

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