McCollum Joins Colleagues on Congressional Delegation to Burma, Bangladesh
As horrifying acts against the Burmese Rohingya minority and the related refugee crisis continue, Congresswoman Betty McCollum (DFL-Minn.) and a Congressional delegation led by Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) has completed a fact-finding mission to Burma and Bangladesh.
Congresswoman McCollum and her colleagues visited refugee camps in Bangladesh and Rohingya communities in Burma and saw firsthand the impact of the humanitarian crisis and the urgent need for international action to end the violence and repatriate the Rohingya who are currently in refugee camps in Bangladesh. The delegation also met with government officials and international organizations in both countries.
“The persecution of Rohingya in Burma is a humanitarian crisis that has shocked the world and demands robust American leadership,” said McCollum. “The message of our trip is clear: we must not tolerate violence, discrimination, and human rights abuses anywhere in the world. We are also insisting that the United States must do our part to assist the refugees who have fled Burma as they work to rebuild their lives.”
The delegation called on Burma to address the root causes of the conflict and address the plight of the 600,000 Rohingya refugees. Specifically, Congresswoman McCollum and the delegation called on the government of Burma to take the following steps:
- Full implementation of the recommendations of former United Nations (UN) Secretary General Kofi Annan’s advisory commission on the Rakhine state.
- Full access for humanitarian organizations. Currently only the International Committee of the Red Cross has access.
- Freedom of movement and a path to ending discrimination.
- A fair path to securing full citizenship rights.
- Work with Bangladesh and the UN for voluntary and safe repatriation of Rohingya refugees, who should have the ability to go back to their villages and farms, with guarantees of safety. The delegation also called for refugees to receive assistance rebuilding homes and community facilities that have been burned.
- A full investigation and accountability for the atrocities that have taken place.
McCollum and Merkley were joined on the delegation by Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Representatives Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) and David Cicilline (D-R.I.).