Joint NGO Appeal to the UN Security Council to Act on Myanmar’s Rohingya Crisis

12 December 2017

In advance of the United Nations Security Council’s December 12 meeting on the situation in Myanmar, we, a global coalition of 81 human rights, faith-based and humanitarian organizations, urgently call on the Council to take immediate action to address the campaign of ethnic cleansing and mass atrocity crimes, including crimes against humanity, committed against the ethnic Rohingya population by Myanmar’s security forces in northern Rakhine State, as well as the continuing restrictions on humanitarian assistance throughout the state since October 2016.

Words of condemnation by the UN, including the Security Council’s Presidential Statement on November 6 and the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee’s adoption of a resolution on Myanmar, have not resulted in Myanmar’s government ending its abuses or holding those responsible to account. It is time for prompt, concerted and effective international action.

Myanmar authorities are still heavily restricting access to northern Rakhine State for most international humanitarian organizations, human rights monitors, and independent media. Most of Myanmar’s Rohingya population, estimated at more than one million, have been forced to flee to Bangladesh as refugees. Despite a bilateral agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh, there are insufficient guarantees that return at this time can be informed, safe and voluntary, that requirements for documentation of prior residence will not be used as a pretext to reject legitimate returns, that temporary holding centers will not become semi-permanent internment camps and that returnees will have the same rights of movement, access to livelihoods and health and education services as other residents of Rakhine State. The UN Fact-Finding Mission, which is tasked with preparing a report on abuses nationwide, has thus far been prevented from gaining access to the country.

Over 646,000 Rohingya have been made refugees since August 25, when Myanmar security forces launched “clearance operations” in response to armed attacks on security posts by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). Refugee testimonies provide overwhelming
evidence of Myanmar military-led atrocities during these operations, and a similar campaign that had begun in October 2016. The crimes against humanity perpetrated against the Rohingya include massacres and other unlawful killings, widespread rape and other sexual violence, looting, deportation and mass arson of hundreds of Rohingya villages. The violence also displaced tens of thousands of people from other ethnic minorities. Rohingya who remain in Myanmar continue to face severe food insecurity and threats in addition to systematic violations of their rights to a nationality, freedom of movement, and access to healthcare, education, and
livelihood opportunities.

The Myanmar government has the primary responsibility to protect its diverse population without discrimination and regardless of ethnicity, religion or citizenship status. But, the civilian and military leadership of Myanmar, including the military’s Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, refuse to even acknowledge the serious human rights violations against the Rohingya and continue to deny any wrongdoing by state security forces in Rakhine State while ignoring decades of institutionalized discrimination against the Rohingya community.

We urge the Security Council to immediately impose an arms embargo against Myanmar’s military that covers the direct and indirect supply, sale or transfer, including transit and trans-shipment of all weapons, munitions, and other military and security equipment, as well as the provision of training and other military and security assistance. The Security Council should also place targeted sanctions on senior officers responsible for crimes against humanity or other serious human rights violations. Financial sanctions should target senior officers who ordered criminal acts or are liable as a matter of command responsibility. The Security Council should explore all avenues for justice and accountability, including through international courts.

If the pledge to “never again” allow atrocities means anything, the Security Council cannot delay action any longer.


  1. ALTSEAN-Burma
  2. African Life Center
  3. Ameinu
  4. American Jewish World Service
  5. Amnesty International
  6. Arab American Bar Association
  7. Association Suisse Birmanie
  8. Burma Action Ireland
  9. Burma Campaign UK
  10. Burma Human Rights Network
  11. Burma Task Force
  12. Canadian Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  13. Carl Wilkens Fellowship
  14. Center for Development of International Law
  15. Center for Justice & Accountability
  16. Center for Media Studies and Peacebuilding (CEMESPLiberia)
  17. Darfur Women’s Action Group
  18. David Rockefeller Fund
  19. Emgage Action
  20. Entrepreneurs du Monde
  21. Equal Rights Trust
  22. European Rohingya Council
  23. Fortify Rights
  24. Foundation for Ethnic Understanding
  25. Franciscan Action Network
  26. Friends Committee on National Legislation
  27. Genocide Watch
  28. Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
  29. Global Justice Center
  30. Global Network of Women Peacebuilders
  31. Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict – Southeast Asia (GPPAC-SEA)
  32. Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition
  33. Holocaust, Genocide and Interfaith Education Center at Manhattan College
  34. Human Rights First
  35. Human Rights Now
  36. Human Rights Watch
  37. Humanity United Action
  38. Info Birmanie
  39. Initiatives for International Dialogue
  40. Interfaith Center of New York
  41. International Campaign for the Rohingya
  42. International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect ICR2P
  43. International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  44. Investors Against Genocide
  45. Jacob Blaustein Institute for the Advancement of Human Rights
  46. Jewish Alliance of Concern over Burma (JACOB)
  47. Jewish World Watch
  48. Law @theMargins
  49. Majlis Ashura – The Islamic Leadership Council of New York
  50. Médecins du Monde
  51. Middle East and North Africa Partnership for Preventing of Armed Conflict (MENAPPAC)
  52. Muslim Bar Association of New York
  53. Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC)
  54. Muslin Social Justice Initiative (MSJI)
  55. National Lawyer’s Guild – International
  56. Network of Spiritual Progressives
  57. Partners Relief & Development
  58. Pax Christi Metro New York
  59. Permanent Peace Movement (PPM)
  60. Physicians for Human Rights
  61. Rabbinical Assembly
  62. Refugee Center Online
  63. Refugees International
  64. Rohingya Community Ireland
  65. Sadhana: Coalition of Progressive Hindus
  66. Save the Children
  67. Society for Threatened Peoples – Germany
  68. STAND Canada
  69. Stanley Foundation
  70. Stop Genocide Now
  71. Swedish Burma Committee
  72. Syrian Network for Human Rights
  73. T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
  74. The Jiyan Foundation for Human Rights
  75. The Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies
  76. Turning Point for Women and Children
  77. Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
  78. United Church of Christ, Justice and Witness Ministries
  79. United Nations Association – Sweden
  80. Viet Tan
  81. World Federalist Movement – Canada
  82. World Federalist Movement-Institute for Global Policy (WFMIGP)
Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect and other NGOs


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