December 10, 2019

Merkley, Wyden Join Colleagues to Demand Aung San Suu Kyi Cooperate with International Court of Justice

‘Evidence of crimes committed by the Burmese military is overwhelming’

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden joined a bipartisan group of senators today in writing to Burmese State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi to express their concern that she will publicly excuse the actions of the Burmese military, or Tatmadaw, at a meeting before the International Court of Justice at The Hague, Netherlands.

According to the United Nations Human Rights Council’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, the military likely conducted “genocidal acts” against the Rohingya in 2017.

“Evidence of crimes committed by the Burmese military is overwhelming,” the Senators wrote. “Representing the Burmese military’s interest before The Hague and defending the mass atrocities committed against the Rohingya and other ethnic minorities would undermine what remaining credibility you have before the international community, including in the U.S. Congress. A defense of the Burmese military at this high-profile international forum is also an affront to the inclusive, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic and democratic Burma that you claim to champion.”

In addition to Senators Merkley and Wyden, the letter was signed by Senators Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Bob Casey (D-PA), Ben Cardin (D-MD), and Todd Young (R-IN).

In an effort to crack down on the Burmese government’s crimes against humanity, Senators Merkley and Wyden previously joined their Senate colleagues to introduce the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2019—legislation that would impose sanctions on senior military officials who were responsible for the systemic human rights abuses against the Rohingya and other minorities. Merkley, who serves on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, also led a congressional fact-finding mission to Burma and Bangladesh to investigate the Rohingya genocide in November 2017.

The senators’ letter is available here