October 20, 2020
The Honorable Michael R. Pompeo Secretary of State U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street NW
Washington, D.C. 20520
Dear Secretary Pompeo,
We write to you as 35 organizations deeply concerned about the plight of the Rohingya people. We are grateful that the United States will be co-hosting a global donor conference this month to rally support for the ongoing immense humanitarian needs in Burma and Bangladesh for this persecuted ethnic and religious minority. We urge you to use this moment not only to increase humanitarian funding but to publicly acknowledge the reality of what has happened to the Rohingya people and call it genocide.
Such a step would not only acknowledge the truth of what has happened but would also help to rally further humanitarian assistance. It would also demonstrate solidarity with the governments of Bangladesh and other refugee hosting countries, signaling the United States is committed both to accountability and supporting conditions for safe and voluntary return when conditions so permit.
Finally, a genocide determination would send a sense of urgency to spur the kind of multi- lateral diplomatic engagement and pressure needed to ensure that Burma refrains from committing further atrocities against ethnic and religious minorities and, ultimately, creates the conditions conducive to the safe, voluntary, informed, and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees to their place of origin.
Recognition of the nature of what happened to the Rohingya is steadily growing. In August, as the world marked three years from the mass expulsion of the Rohingya from Burma, we delivered a petition to you signed by some 9,000 individuals and supported by more than 80 organizations. The petition urged you to publicly determine that the state of Burma has committed genocide and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya people. That call has been echoed by bi-partisan Members of Congress, legal and human rights experts, and numerous faith-based organizations.
The evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity is clear and convincing and has been amply documented by the UN Fact-finding mission, the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, independent human rights groups, and your own State Department.
As the State Department takes the world stage to kick off the international Rohingya donor conference, this reality must be acknowledged and the opportunity to galvanize international support must not be lost. U.S. leadership matters. Now is the time to call it genocide.
- Arakan Rohingya Development Association – Australia
- Arakan Rohingya National Organization
- Arakan Rohingya Union
- Burma Campaign UK
- Burma Human Rights Network
- Burma Rohingya Association of Japan
- Burma Rohingya Organization UK
- Burma Task Force
- Burmese Rohingya Association of North America
- Burmese Rohingya Community in Denmark
- Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organization
- Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative
- Christian Solidarity Worldwide
- European Rohingya Council
- Fortify Rights
- Genocide Watch
- Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
- Global Witness
- Institute for Asian Democracy
- International Campaign for the Rohingya
- International State Crime Initiative (ISCI), Queen Mary University of London
- Jewish World Watch
- Justice for All
- Progressive Voice
- Refugees International
- Restless Beings
- Rohingya Association of Canada
- Rohingya Human Rights Monitoring Network
- Rohingya Human Rights Network
- Rohingya Khobor
- Rohingya Society in Malaysia
- Rohingya Youth for Legal Action
- Unitarian Universalist Service Committee