NGOs Urge Secretary Pompeo to Call Myanmar’s Crimes Genocide

Dear Secretary Pompeo,

We write to urge the U.S. Department of State to publicly determine that the state of Myanmar has committed genocide and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya people. The evidence of genocide and crimes against humanity is clear and convincing and has been amply documented. In making such a determination, the United States would help lead the world in holding the state of Myanmar accountable for grave abuses and in preventing further atrocities.

Beyond enhancing international accountability efforts, a U.S. government determination of genocide and crimes against humanity would subject Myanmar and its military to much needed international scrutiny at a time when the military continues to target Rohingya and other civilians in Myanmar. In the midst of a COVID-19 pandemic that is the predominant focus of governments around the world, a determination would also help to ensure continued international attention on the plight of the Rohingya, while enabling the United States to mobilize additional diplomatic and economic pressure on Myanmar to shift its behavior. This attention could offer a measure of protection for the Rohingya and others in Myanmar. It would also represent an expression of solidarity with the governments of Bangladesh and other refugee hosting countries, signaling the United States is committed both to accountability and supporting conditions for safe and voluntary return when conditions so permit.

Such a determination would be wholly consistent with findings of the Department of State, which concluded that the attacks on the Rohingya were “well-planned and coordinated” and that they were “extreme, large-scale, widespread, and seemingly geared toward both terrorizing the population and driving out the Rohingya residents.” The law group engaged by the State Department to investigate atrocities against the Rohingya conducted its own legal analysis and found reasonable grounds to believe that genocide was committed. A UN Independent FactFinding Mission similarly found “a pattern of conduct that infers genocidal intent on the part of the State to destroy the Rohingya, in whole or in part, as a group.” The Fact Finding Mission has further warned, “The State of Myanmar continues to harbour genocidal intent and the Rohingya remain under serious risk of genocide.”

Now is the time to use the words that fit the crimes. U.S. leadership matters. We call upon you to demonstrate the moral leadership and courage necessary to push global action in the face of genocide.


Action Corps

Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma


Americans for Rohingya

Arakan Rohingya National Organization

Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and

Human Rights

Bethany Christian Service

Burma Campaign UK

Burma Human Rights Network

Burma Rohingya Organization UK

Burma Task Force

Burma Rohingya Association of North


Burmese Rohingya Association of Japan

Burmese Rohingya Community in


Canadian Burmese Rohingya


Canadian Rohingya Development


Christian Reformed Church Office of

Social Justice

Christian Solidarity Worldwide

Eastern Pennsylvania Karen Community

European Rohingya Council

Fortify Rights

Global Centre for the Responsibility to


Global Witness


Humanitarian Aid Relief Trust

Institute for Genocide and Mass Atrocity

Prevention at Binghamton University

International Campaign for the Rohingya

International Interfaith Peace Corps

International State Crime Initiative,

Queen Mary University of London

Jewish World Watch

Justice4Rohingya UK

Justice for All

Kaladan Press Network

Karen Community of Akron, Inc.

Karen Organization of America

Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns

Never Again Coalition

Partners Relief and Development

Progressive Voice

Queensland Rohingya Community Inc.

Refugees International

Restless Beings

Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights

Rohingya Action Ireland

Rohingya Human Rights Monitoring


Rohingya Human Rights Network


Rohingya Post

Rohingya Refugee Network

Rohingya Student Network

Rohingya Student Union

Rohingya Women Education Initiative

Rohingya Youth for Legal Action

STAND: The student-led movement to

end mass atrocities

Step Ahead

Unitarian Universalist Service Committee

US Campaign for Burma