FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 18, 2019
USCIRF Responds to Travel Ban on Burmese Military Officials
WASHINGTON, DC – On Tuesday, the State Department designated four Burmese military leaders as responsible for gross human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims, including extrajudicial killings within Burma’s Rakhine State, banning their and their immediate families’ travel to the United States. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) issued the following statement:
“This is a welcome step toward holding these individuals accountable,” said USCIRF Chair Tony Perkins. “However, given the level of government-tolerated abuse, we urge the Departments of State and Treasury to consider using additional targeted tools on the military and other responsible parties, such as economic sanctions under the Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act.”
Said Commissioner Anurima Bhargava, “We urge the Administration and Congress to make a definitive and public declaration that the military’s atrocities towards Rohingya Muslims and other religious and ethnic minorities meet the legal definition of crimes against humanity and/or genocide. This horrific chapter in Burma’s history must end with justice and the safe and dignified return of Rohingya Muslims and other displaced families to their homeland.”
The four military officials banned by the State Department are Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing, Deputy Commander-in-Chief Soe Win, Brigadier General Than Oo and Brigadier General Aung Aung. USCIRF has repeatedly called for targeted sanctions against military units in Burma following its disproportionate and indiscriminate crackdown on Rohingya Muslims in October 2016, and the mass displacement and violence towards Rohingya Muslims in the years since. USCIRF has recommended that Burma be designated a “country of particular concern” in every year since 2000, including in its most recent annual report.
Commissioner Bhargava, Commissioner Nadine Maenza and Deputy Director for Research and Policy Tina Mufford visited Burma last month and met with government and military officials, civil society and members of the Rohingya community.
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom is an independent, bipartisan federal government entity established by the U.S. Congress to monitor, analyze and report on threats to religious freedom abroad. USCIRF makes foreign policy recommendations to the President, the Secretary of State and Congress intended to deter religious persecution and promote freedom of religion and belief. To interview a Commissioner, please contact USCIRF at Media@USCIRF.gov or Kellie Boyle at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1-703-898-6554.