Action Corps at the OBAT Iftar for the Rohingya
One of the main causes of Action Corps, a grassroots advocacy group against social injustice, is the Rohingya refugees stranded in Bangladesh. Meet them at the interfaith OBAT Helpers iftar for addressing the plight of the Rohingya in very different ways.
Kim Kiser, board member of the national grassroots social justice movement Action Corps writes:
“We did not act quickly enough after the killing began…we did not immediately call these crimes by their rightful name: genocide.” – President Bill Clinton on U.S. non-intervention in Rwanda
Who are the Rohingya?
The Rohingya people are a minority ethnic group who have lived in the Rakhine State, the poorest of Myanmar’s (the country formerly called Burma) regions, for many generations. They are Sunni Muslims that Myanmar’s ruling ethnic group (the Bamar) labels as Bengali immigrants with no right to live in Myanmar.
For decades the Burmese government has severely limited the Rohingya people’s right to marry, have children, work, practice their faith or travel. In 1982, Myanmar created the Burma Citizenship Act which stripped them of citizenship, leaving them stateless.
In August 2017, twenty members of Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army attacked Burmese police posts with knives and homemade bombs killing twelve people. Myanmar’s military response was to attack Rohingya beheading men, raping women and girls, murdering Rohingya children and burning entire villages. They killed 14,500 Rohingya and forcibly displaced more than 730,000. The majority of the Rohingya are now refugees living in camps in the southern part of Bangladesh.
International humanitarian aid is dwindling
Only two years into this crisis, international urgency around this crisis is fading and U.N. member countries have only committed to meet 17 percent of this year’s funding goal to provide food, sanitation, health care and very limited primary education. Their host country, Bangladesh, is the poorest in the region and severely overpopulated. It can not afford to host this community without international support.
The camps in Bangladesh are severely overcrowded, prone to flooding and cyclones, and located near a tourist area where human trafficking is rampant. Female-led families feel especially vulnerable.
What can we do
Click here to ask your Senators to support the bipartisan bill, “The Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2019.”, S.1186 , which will
- provide desperately needed humanitarian assistance for the nearly one million Rohingya refugees
- Create political pressure to stop violence against minority ethnic groups through sanctions and deny of visas to Myanmar’s military leaders who are responsible for these atrocities
- Reinstate restrictions on “genocide gems” like rubies and jade, whose profits fund Burma’s military.
Please ask your Senators to support the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2019, S.1186 and forward this to friends to build momentum to help the Rohingya.
If you want to contribute your voice to advocating for legislation to start turning the desperate situation of the Rohingya, contact Kim at the Iftar for the Rohingya May 25.