Rights group welcomes U.S. offer to accept Rohingya refugees (Mizzima (Burma))

A U.S. based human rights advocacy group, United to End Genocide, welcomed the announcement by the United States to accept Rohingya victims who have fled the threat of genocide in Myanmar. The cooperation offered by the United States reflects the urgent need for all nations to be assisting in this humanitarian emergency, according to a press release by the group on 21 May.

People are lost at sea and dying, said former U.S. Congressman Tom Andrews, President of United to End Genocide. They need to be found and rescued now! There will be few Rohingya to re-settle if they perish at sea.

The announcement that the United States will take in Rohingya victims is a positive step but with thousands remaining adrift at sea immediate search and rescue operations must be the highest priority for the U.S. and international community, said Dan Sullivan, Director of Policy for United to End Genocide who recently returned from Malaysia where he met with families of Rohingya who fled Myanmar by boat.

Without search and rescue operations, the Andaman Sea will become a mass grave and it will be just bodies reaching Southeast Asian shores. There is no more time for delay. The United States is in a position to coordinate rescue operations and to push Burma’s neighbours to act immediately.

Action by the United States underscores that the treatment of the Rohingya in Burma is both a moral issue and one that needs to be addressed internationally. Once those lost at sea are brought ashore, the root cause of this crisis — the persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority in western Burma — must be directly confronted. Ultimately the trail of doomed ships leads back to Burma.

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