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Rohingya: Burma's Forgotten Minority

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. PITTS. Mr. Speaker, the ongoing abuses and tragedies in Burma are almost unfathomable. The brutal and cruel military dictators systematically oppress and exploit the ethnic minorities in Burma, and they are denied the basic and fundamental rights that belong to every human being.

Among the minorities most deprived of such rights is the Rohingya, a Muslim minority in western Burma. The Rohingya people are denied citizenship, freedom of movement, college education, and even marriage. They need permission just to leave their villages and are prohibited from traveling beyond a particular region of the country. The tactics of rape, forced labor, torture, land seizures, arbitrary arrests, and extortion are also used to repress them. As a result, 1.5 million Rohingya have fled to surrounding countries.

I met with a representative of the Rohingya recently; and his request was, Please speak up for us, we are people too. For the Rohingya and for all the ethnic minorities and suffering people of Burma who are victims of this cruel dictatorship, we must speak out against their horrific abuses. Our government, the U.N., and ASEAN should speak up as well.

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