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Chabot, Levin Statement on Burma Genocide Determination

Washington, D.C. – Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH) and  Andy Levin (D-MI), Ranking Member and Vice Chair of House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, the Pacific, Central Asia and Nonproliferation, released the following statement in response to the U.S. State Department’s determination today that military forces in Burma committed atrocities that amount to genocide against the Rohingya people.

“We applaud the State Department for its declaration that the Burmese military has committed genocide and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya. It is our government’s duty to the international community to call out genocide whenever and wherever it occurs.  Based on the overwhelming evidence gathered and reported by the State Department, the U.N.’s Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM), and non-governmental organizations like the U.S. Holocaust Museum, this determination is undoubtedly the right one, and long overdue. For several years we have called on the State Department to make such a determine, and we believe that this is a major step toward holding the perpetrators accountable.  

“As a nation, we must uphold the democratic values to which we aspire, including by seeking justice for heinous crimes committed. Along with the Tatmadaw, which was emboldened to perform a coup in 2021, we have seen first-hand what happens when dictators like Vladimir Putin are not held accountable for atrocities and other grave human rights violations. It is now time for the Biden Administration to enact stronger sanctions on the Tatmadaw and their business enterprises that fund their continuing abuses. The Administration should also support international accountability efforts, like the IIMM to investigate and hold perpetrators of atrocities accountable.”

Background:

  • In 2020, the Congressmen introduced bipartisan legislation requiring the State Department to determine if violent actions taken by military and security forces in Burma constitute genocide against the Rohingya people.

  • In 2018, the House passed H.Res. 1091 [115], bipartisan legislation sponsored by Rep. Chabot, affirming that “the atrocities committed against the Rohingya by the Burmese military and security forces since August 2017 constitute crimes against humanity and genocide.”