Senators call for consequences to end human rights abuses including sexual and gender-based attacks against the Rohingya population


Washington (February 7, 2018) –Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations East Asia Subcommittee, today praised passage of his amendment to the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act (S.2060) that strengthens accountability measures for sexual and gender-based violence perpetrated against the Rohingya by Burma’s military. More than 600,000 Rohingya civilians, mostly women and children, have fled Burma into Bangladesh to escape violence. 


“We need to bridge the impunity gap that re-victimizes Rohingya survivors and fails to hold Burma’s military officers accountable,” said Senator Markey. “Widespread sexual violence suggests that these crimes were not incidental but a calculated tool of terror. The international community must send a strong signal that militaries cannot use sexual violence as a tool of war.”


A copy of Senator Markey’s amendment can be found HERE.


Media is reporting that many of the Rohingya claim that Tatmadaw soldiers enter their villages, kill civilians, rape women and girls, and then burn down entire villages. International medical teams treating the Rohingya in camps report that some bear gunshot wounds consistent with being shot from behind, and many women and girls have injuries consistent with sexual assault.


In November 2017, Senator Markey led a bipartisan group of 16 Senators in a letter to the United Nations Secretary General urging him to work with the UN Security Council to use all the tools available, including targeted sanctions, to hold accountable those responsible for human rights abuses including sexual assault. Senators signing the letter include Todd Young (R-Ind.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Cory Booker (D-N.J.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tim Kaine (D-Va.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Maria Cantwell (D-Wash.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), and Ben Cardin (D-Md.).