Secretary of State Tillerson Asks for Investigation on Rohingya

The United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with Aung San Suu Kyi, the current leader of Myanmar, on Nov. 15 to discuss the plight of the Rohingya, a people group of Myanmar that has been persecuted by the military for being illegal aliens.

There are currently more than 600,000 Rohingyas that have fled to Bangladesh seeking refuge.

Rohingya homes burnt down
Houses of the Rohingya have been burnt down by the military.  Source:  Moe Zaw (VOA)

There have been accusations from the United Nations and British Prime Minister Theresa May that Aung San Suu Kyi was silent as the military enacted an “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya people. Suu Kyi denied the accusations.

After his meeting with Suu Kyi, Tillerson stated that further investigation is necessary before calling the Rohingya’s plight “ethnic cleansing.”

One of the other issues discussed in their meeting was whether or not economic sanctions should be issued against Myanmar for the current treatment of the Rohingya people. Tillerson argued that there was not enough evidence the Rohingya were being brutally attacked by the military to cover the country with sanctions. Typically, the United States cuts off trade to foreign countries for a wrongdoing.

The New York Times explains, “Mr. Tillerson called the situation ‘horrific,’ and at a news conference after the meeting said that there had been ‘crimes against humanity.’ And while he said he advised against ‘broad-based economic sanctions’ against Myanmar, he said targeted sanctions against individuals might be called for.”

According to CNN, Tillerson and Suu Kyi called for an independent investigation into what is really happening in the Rakhine state among the Rohingya.

The US has suggested putting up travel restrictions for military officials in Myanmar but will not support restrictions on Aung San Suu Kyi. The travel restrictions would ban the military from attacking the Rohingya and restrict them from going to that part of the country. If the results turn out to be ethnic cleansing, the restrictions could stop most of the violence against the Rohingya.

The BBC reports, “Some US lawmakers have introduced legislation that would impose targeted sanctions and travel restrictions on military officials in Myanmar over the crisis. The proposed measures would not target Ms Suu Kyi, who enjoyed widespread support in Washington during her years of house arrest under military rule.”

Samaritan’s Purse is providing aid to the Rohingya people who have fled the violence in Myanmar.

Samaritan’s Purse explains they “will be working to provide food, tarps, and non-food items to Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. We are working with four local hospitals, including Memorial Christian, to provide medical equipment and supplies to those caring for the critically wounded, malnourished, and sick.”

Please pray for this investigation, that they would come up with something conclusive and justice will be done. Pray for Samaritan’s Purse as they provide relief to the Rohingya, that they would see the love of Christ displayed.

CNN: Tillerson refuses to label Rohingya crisis ‘ethnic cleansing,’ calls for investigation

BBC: Tillerson calls for Myanmar Rohingya investigation

New York Times: Rex Tillerson Tells Myanmar Leaders to Investigate Attacks on Rohingya

Samaritan’s Purse: Samaritan’s Purse Responding to Rohingya Refugee Crisis

Council on Foreign Relations: What Are Economic Sanctions?