In the wake of humanitarian catastrophes and genocides, the world comes together to grieve and condemn. We wonder how something so evil could have occurred and we promise that we will never allow it to happen again.
Now, a massive humanitarian disaster that has been brewing for years is coming to a boiling point. The Rohingya Muslim population in Myanmar is actively being targeted and attacked for their beliefs and ethnicity. Women are being raped, children are being murdered, and entire villages are being razed to rubble. The United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights has called the situation a ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing.’
The world cannot sit idly by. Silence is complicity. We must speak out and we must demand that political and moral leaders, especially Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, do the same. My colleagues and I sent her a letter asking that any ‘clearance operations’ against the Rohingya be ended immediately. We also asked her to allow the U.N. Human Rights Commission Fact Finding Mission to enter Myanmar and assess the violence occurring in the Rakhine State.
I joined my colleagues on another letter to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, asking him to work with the U.N. Security Council to develop a strong and meaningful international response and immediately suspend all planned United States training programs with Myanmar’s military. The time to act is now. We cannot afford to wait.