Expressing doubt over the return of Rohingyas to their homeland, Congressman Eliot L Engel has called for an end to the attacks and an immediate restoration of humanitarian access to Rakhine State of Myanmar.
“The governments of Burma and Bangladesh have struck a deal to begin repatriating Rohingya next month, but it’s not yet clear that anyone is interested in returning right now,” he said.
In fact, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs said, there are reports of more arrivals in Bangladesh each day, on fishing boats for those who can afford passage and on makeshift rafts for those who cannot.
“People are leaving Burma out of fear and they are leaving because they’re hungry and they’re leaving because they know if they stay, they’ll die,” Engel said in a statement recently shared by Bangladesh Foreign Ministry on Thursday.
He said the Burmese military and security forces are waging a brutal campaign of violence against unarmed civilians, including women and children, killing, raping, and destroying lives and livelihoods.
“The Rohingya people have been marginalised for decades, but the unthinkable violence and human suffering since August is ethnic cleansing, pure and simple—a description the Trump Administration now agrees with, although they were far too slow to say so—and possibly even genocide,” he said.
Over the past four months, more than 626,000 men, women, and children have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh to find refuge in a country with tremendous needs of its own.
“This is more than 10 times the number of refugees the Administration will allow into the United States this year—the same Administration that ended America’s participation in the UN effort to develop a Global Compact on Migration,” said the Congressman.
He said Bangladesh deserves their deep gratitude for opening its doors to the Rohingya at a time when our government slams the door shut.
“We must also urge our own Administration to hold members of the Burmese military and security forces accountable for these atrocities, and I’ve introduced sanctions legislation to do just that,” he said.