The United States House of Representatives passed a resolution on Thursday declaring that crimes committed by the Myanmar security forces against Rohingya Muslims constitute genocide.
The resolution also calls for the “immediate pardon and release” of two Reuters journalists who have been imprisoned for exposing the genocide.
The resolution passed with a vote of 394 to 1.
House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce said:
“The United States has a moral obligation to call these crimes genocide. Failing to do so gives the perpetrators cover and hinders efforts to bring those accountable to justice. With this resolution, the House fulfills its part of that duty.”
A State Department report found that violence against the Rohingya was “extreme, large-scale, widespread” and intended to “(drive) out the Rohingya residents”. Despite this, the State Department has not labelled the crimes as genocide.
The United Nations has called for Myanmar’s generals to face an international tribunal on the charges of genocide, with the chair of a UN independent fact-finding mission saying he had “never been confronted by crimes as horrendous and on such scale as these”.
More than 700,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh last year, with reports of villages being razed, men, women and children being burned alive, soldiers gang-raping women and girls, and the killing of at least several thousand civilians.