Washington, DC – Congressman Steve Chabot (R-OH) today delivered remarks on the House Floor about H.Con.Res.90, a resolution that he sponsored with Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-N.Y.) to condemn the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya, call for an end to the attacks in Burma and call for an immediate restoration of humanitarian access to the state of Rakhine in Burma.
Congressman Chabot's remarks, as prepared for delivery:
Thank you, Mr. Speaker. I rise today in support of H.Con.Res. 90, a bipartisan bill condemning the Burmese military’s systematic attacks on the Rohingya in Rakhine State, Burma. I want to thank Congressman Crowley for working with me on this important issue and for sponsoring this resolution. I also want to thank Chairman Royce and my colleagues on the Foreign Affairs Committee for their dedicated work on this issue.
As a senior member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and a longtime member and former Chairman of the Asia and the Pacific Subcommittee, I have closely monitored developments in Burma. I have also had the opportunity to travel to Burma and to meet its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi.
The Rohingya have long been at the fringe of Burmese society, and it is no secret that the Burmese military regards them as outsiders who don’t belong in Burma at all. That is why they used attacks in August, by a rogue group of Rohingya, as a pretext to terrorize the entire Rohingya population.
And this campaign of terror and violence has worked – over 600,000 Rohingya have fled Burma for Bangladesh. At least 250,000 of these are children. Further, credible human rights organizations and the media have documented numerous horrors and abuses. Together, these atrocities amount to what has been called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
Unfortunately, Burma’s constitution allows the Burmese military to control much of the government while Burma’s civilian government has not taken the proper steps to address the violence.
This is why action is needed. Since the Burmese military began its ethnic cleansing campaign against the Rohingya, Congressman Crowley and I have sought to bring much needed attention to this issue and have helped lead a congressional effort to end this violence. That is why we have introduced this resolution and why we also introduced the BURMA Act, which applies targeted sanctions to the Burmese military.
While we have seen positive action by the State Department, more must be done. It is time for us to send a clear message that the attacks on the Rohingya are entirely unacceptable and disproportionate and that the American people are horrified by these atrocities. I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation.
Thank you Mr. Speaker, I yield back.