Minnesota representative Ilhan Omar said in a statement yesterday concerning the coup in Burma (Myanmar), “My heart is with the Burmese people, especially the Rohingya population, who have already suffered so much.
“Until 2011, the Burmese people suffered under a five-decade military dictatorship, only to have their hopes for a peaceful democracy dashed. Since 2017, thousands of Rohingya have been forcibly removed from their homes by the Burmese military in what can only be called a genocide. Many fled to neighboring Bangladesh.
“Before this weekend, Bangladesh had expected to begin repatriating some Rohingya back to Burma as part of a bilateral agreement between the two countries. We should commit to helping ease the burden on Bangladesh and other countries in the region by agreeing to resettle more Rohingya refugees here in the United States.
“The military coup only makes the situation more dire for the Rohingya population. Burma must at long last respect the rights of all political minorities and the repatriation of the Rohingya population. The Burmese people have repeatedly made clear that they do not want a military government. All political prisoners detained in the military coup should be released. And the United States must stand unequivocally with those advocating for a Burmese democracy rooted in human rights and equality.
“Political turmoil hurts the most vulnerable more than anyone. Our top priority must be to support the human rights of religious and political minorities, and all those facing oppression.”
According to Human Rights Watch, The Rohingya have faced decades of discrimination and repression under successive Myanmar governments. Effectively denied citizenship under the 1982 Citizenship Law, they are one of the largest stateless populations in the world.
About 900,000 Rohingya are currently living in overcrowded camps in Bangladesh, most of whom fled Myanmar since August 2017 to escape the military’s crimes against humanity and possible genocide.
The estimated 600,000 Rohingya who remain in Rakhine State are subject to government persecution and violence, confined to camps and villages without freedom of movement, and cut off from access to adequate food, health care, education, and livelihoods.