Crimes in Rakhine: US House calls for additional sanctions | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 17, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:06 AM, December 17, 2018

Crimes in Rakhine: US House calls for additional sanctions

The US House of Representatives has called on the Trump administration to determine whether the Myanmar military's action in the Rakhine State in 2017 can be constituted crime against humanity and genocide, and to impose additional sanctions on senior members of the military and security forces responsible for it.

It said the US president should impose additional sanctions on responsible senior members of the Myanmar military and security forces including Tatmadaw Commander-In-Chief Min Aung Hliang.

The House overwhelmingly passed a resolution declaring that the crimes committed by Myanmar security forces against Rohingyas constitute genocide. The resolution was passed on December 13 with a vote of 394 to 1.

The State Department last week defended its decision to not yet label the crimes -- based on its own reporting which included acts of mass killing, destruction and sexual violence -- as genocide.

That report, released in September, found that violence against the Rohingyas was "extreme, large-scale, widespread, and seemingly geared towards both terrorising the population and driving out the Rohingya residents."

"The United States has a moral obligation to call these crimes genocide. Failing to do so gives the perpetrators cover and hinders efforts to bring those accountable to justice. With this resolution, the House fulfills its part of that duty," House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said.

The resolution asked the US Secretary of State to fully support efforts to collect, preserve, and make available evidence related to the commission of these crimes.

Every government and multinational body should call such atrocities by their rightful names of “crimes against humanity”, “war crimes” and “genocide”, read the directive of the House of Representatives.

The governments of Bangladesh, US, and China, as well as the UNHCR and other actors, should only support safe, voluntary and dignified repatriation of Rohingyas, it said.

The resolution said the Myanmar's military and government should provide immediate, unimpeded access to northern Rakhine by UNHCR, UNDP, other humanitarian actors, and journalists, in order to verify that the necessary conditions exist for a voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of displaced Rohingyas in a manner consistent with internationally recognised human rights and principles for refugee protection.

It also asked the Myanmar government to change the laws and policies that have contributed to insecurity in the Rakhine State; and rescind any laws that obstruct the freedom of the press.

The US House of Representatives urged the Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and President Win Myint to pardon and immediately release from prison Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, as well as all other journalists and political prisoners.

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