How to Help Rohingya Refugees
For many months, the world has watched as the Burmese military has burned villages, raped women, killed civilians, and forced more than 650,000 Rohingya refugees to flee to Bangladesh.
Now the humanitarian plight of Rohingya is coming into fuller, even more tragic relief.
On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported on a massacre in the Myanmar village of Gu Dar Pyin, and the discovery of at least five mass graves. According to the report, the "faces of the men half-buried in the mass graves had been burned away by acid or blasted by bullets."
National leader Aung San Suu Kyi has done nothing to stop these atrocities. Last fall, fellow Nobel Peace Prize winner Archbishop Desmond Tutu wrote to her in an open letter: "If the political price of your ascension to the highest office in Myanmar is your silence, the price is surely too steep. ... It is incongruous for a symbol of righteousness to lead such a country; it is adding to our pain."
Former United Nations Ambassador Bill Richardson said as much last week, quitting a Myanmar commission he feared was a "whitewash" of the crisis and a cheerleading squad for the government".
Yanghee Lee, the UN's Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, says the crisis bears the "hallmarks of a genocide".
Now, in an attempt to show the world that all is well, the Myanmar government is calling for a return, or repatriation, of Rohingya refugees from Bangladesh. Human rights activists call that plan premature and dangerous and have urged the international community to oppose it.
How to help the Rohingya refugees
Learn more about what CNN years ago called the apartheid you've never heard of.
Contact US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (202.647.4000) and your member of Congress (202.224.3121) to urge the US to officially oppose repatriation of Rohingya refugees until their safety can be assured.
While you have your member of Congress on the phone: Urge them to support bills that would prompt investigations into atrocities in Myanmar: H.R. 4223 in the House, and S. 2060 in the Senate.
Put economic pressure on corporations doing business in Myanmar, starting with this campaign targeting the Bulgari jewelry brand. According to the International Campaign for the Rohingya, 90% of the world's rubies and jade come from Myanmar, and the country's gemstone trade is largely controlled by the military. The campaign has already convinced Cartier to pull out of Myanmar and is now trying to persuade Bulgari to do the same.
Connect with and support organizations advocating for the Rohingya including Fortify Rights, Burma Task Force USA (a coalition including CAIR, ISNA, and many other groups), International Campaign for the Rohingya, Human Rights Watch, and Amnesty International. You can also find several crowdfunded donation campaigns at LaunchGood.