Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Chris Coons (D-Del.) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), co-chairs of the Senate Human Rights Caucus, issued the following statement in response to Vice President Pence’s criticism of the treatment of Burma’s Rohingya.
“As co-chairs of the Senate Human Rights Caucus, we have repeatedly condemned the persecution of the Rohingya Muslims in Burma’s Rakhine State and called on the Government of Burma to release Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo. We applaud Vice President Pence for affirming the United States’ commitment to a free and independent press and delivering a strong criticism of the treatment of the Rohingya during his meeting with Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi at the ASEAN Summit on Wednesday. We join the Vice President in calling on the Government of Burma to hold the perpetrators of violence against the Rohingya accountable, and we are grateful to the people of Bangladesh for welcoming the more than 700,000 Rohingya who have been forced to flee their homes. We remain committed to supporting these refugees and urge the Government of Bangladesh to ensure that any repatriation of refugees to Burma is voluntary, safe, and dignified. The Government of Burma should take immediate steps to improve conditions for the Rohingya and other ethnic and religious minorities in Burma, including providing a pathway to citizenship for the Rohingya.”