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Rubio, Colleagues Urge President to Highlight Burmese Human Rights Violations

Nov 16, 2012 | Blog

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, joined with twenty of his colleagues from the House and Senate in a letter to President Obama urging him to take a strong stance against human rights violations in Burma, including the cessation of violence against the Kachin, Rohingya, and Chin people. These human rights atrocities present a threat to future peace and stability in the region, and cannot be ignored as the U.S. continues to work closely with the Burmese government on reforms.

President Obama is scheduled for a Southeast Asia three-country tour from November 17 to November 20, 2012 that includes visits to Burma (Myanmar) and meetings with President Thein Sein and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. 

In the letter, Rubio and his colleagues expressed, “Burma stands at a critical turning point but additional reforms must still take place.  As Aung Sang Suu Kyi recently said, ‘The world need[s] to understand that Myanmar is just at the beginning of the road to democracy.’  

“Since the Burma Army broke the ceasefire agreement in Kachin State in June 2011, at least 70,000 civilians have been displaced from their villages.  The atrocities committed against the Kachin by the Burma Army may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity and should be thoroughly investigated and prosecuted as the evidence warrants.”  

The letter continues, “The U.S. must be careful to take no action that could be interpreted as endorsement of any misconduct or human rights lapses by the Burmese government or President Thein Sein, particularly while the Burmese government is still dominated by the military with a very brutal past.” 

A PDF version of this letter can be found here.