25 March 2021
Announces plan to reintroduce bill to require the U.S. government to determine whether crimes against Rohingya were genocide
Washington (March 25, 2021) – Today, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass), Chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on East Asia and the Pacific, called on the Biden administration and the international community to take steps to cut off the Burmese military’s oil and gas revenues, primarily through the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise (MOGE), as well as push for an arms embargo against the military regime that overthrew Burma’s democratically elected, civilian-led government on February 1st. Senator Markey also today announced that he will reintroduce the Rohingya Genocide Determination Act, legislation that requires the U.S. government to issue a determination within 90 days as to whether the crimes carried out by the Burmese military against the Rohingya constitute genocide, a determination United Nations investigators have already made. Senator Markey’s announcement comes after he chaired the first hearing in the U.S. Congress focused specifically on the coup that took place in Burma on February 1, 2021.
“I applaud the important steps the Biden administration has taken to date in targeting the Burmese military leaders for overturning the legitimate November 2020 elections, and for their egregious crimes against peaceful protesters. We must now rally the world to ensure that the Burmese military is not benefiting from money or weapons coming from foreign companies or governments to fuel its oppression,” said Senator Markey. “The single greatest source of revenue for the military junta is their gas and oil holdings. Throughout my career, I’ve seen how oil and gas executives cozy up to authoritarian leaders. It’s time for the United States to lead the world and ensure that our continued reliance on fossil fuels does not prop up this murderous regime. We should look into every avenue of cutting off the revenues of the Burmese military, while minimizing unintended harm to the people of Burma.
“I welcome Secretary Blinken’s commitment to making a determination on the Rohingya Genocide but it can be delayed no longer,” continued Senator Markey. “The same military leaders that orchestrated atrocities against the Rohingya have now illegally taken over the government and are engaged in atrocities against the people of Burma every day. I will reintroduce my Rohingya Genocide Determination Act because only by calling the crimes against the Rohingya what they were – genocide – can true justice ever be delivered.”
Two witnesses at today’s Asia Subcommittee hearing, Tom Andrews, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of Human Rights in Myanmar, and Kelley Currie, former U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women\’s Issues testified in favor of targeting revenue flows from the Myanmar Oil and Gas Enterprise in order to stop funds supporting the Burmese military regime.