Sherman-Wagner Introduce Bill Allowing for the Safe Return of Rohingyas to Burma
Washington, DC- Congressman Brad Sherman (D-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Asia, and Congresswoman Ann Wagner (R-MO) introduced the Allowing for the Safe Return of Rohingyas to Burma Act of 2019 on September 18th. This legislation sends a strong message to the Burmese government that it needs to create the necessary conditions for the Rohingya to safely and voluntarily return to their homes.
Since August 2017, the Burmese military has engaged in a brutal crackdown on the Rohingya population, causing nearly 740,000 Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh. Hundreds of thousands of additional Rohingya remain displaced in Burma. The House of Representatives has stated that the atrocities against the Rohingya constitute “crimes against humanity and genocide.” Although the United States has already contributed nearly half a billion dollars to Bangladesh to help cope with the influx of the refugees, the Bangladesh government has been overwhelmed in trying to care for the Rohingya refugees.
This bipartisan legislation would revoke a special trade privilege—Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)—that allows Burma to export certain products duty-free to the United States. The President can only reinstate this trade privilege after certifying that Burma has created an environment for the Rohingya to voluntarily return home safely and with dignity, as well as committed to providing them with their citizenship papers.
“We cannot shy away from calling Burma’s persecution of the Rohingya people what it is: a genocide. The victims of these atrocities have fled their homes and are still suffering, despite the international community’s efforts to care for the refugees,” said Congressman Brad Sherman. “The Rohingya need to be able to voluntarily return home safely and with dignity, and Congress should use all of its leverage available to pressure the Burmese government to make this happen.”
“The genocide being committed by the Burmese government is a horrific atrocity that has affected almost one million Rohingya Muslims,” said Congresswoman Ann Wagner. “I continue to advocate for the fundamental rights of survivors of this genocide and will fight for their safe passage home and full citizenship.”