USCIRF Calls for Accountability of Tatmadaw at One Year Anniversary of Coup in Burma

Washington, DC – The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) today marked the first anniversary of the military coup in Burma that overthrew the quasi-democratic civilian government, plunged the country into chaos, and installed the Burmese military—known as the Tatmadaw—into effective control of Burma’s government. The coup exacerbated already dire religious freedom conditions for Burma’s vulnerable religious communities.

“USCIRF continues to stand with the people of Burma in condemning the military junta, which has only increased religious freedom violations since it took over the institutions of the state one year ago,” said USCIRF Chair Nadine Maenza. “We urge the U.S. government to support the continued pursuit for accountability for the many human rights abuses perpetrated by the Tatmadaw, especially those committed against the predominantly Muslim Rohingya and various Christian communities.”

Last year’s coup plunged Burma into social and economic chaos. Over 1,300 have died as a result of the Tatmadaw’s severe oppression against initially peaceful opposition. Conditions for Burma’s many ethno-religious minorities—particularly the Rohingya Muslims and the various Christian sects —have deteriorated. The Tatmadaw has targeted houses of worship, faith leaders, and congregants in their brutal crackdown on anyone perceived as supporting opposition.

In 2017,  the Tatmadaw targeted Rohingya Muslims, who were systematically killed, raped, tortured and pushed out of their own homelands within Burma – and their villages and places of worship burned,” stated USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava. “Last February, the Tatmadaw unleashed violence and persecuted anyone perceived to stand in its way, including many religious minority communities. USCIRF once again urges the U.S. government to determine that the atrocities committed against the Rohingya constitute genocide and crimes against humanity.

The repercussions of the 2021 Burma coup on the Rohingya community were highlighted in an episode of the USCIRF Spotlight podcast. Furthermore, USCIRF’s 2021 Annual Report and November 2021 Burma Country Update elaborate on religious freedom conditions in Burma and provide recommendations to the U.S. government to hold Burmese officials accountable utilizing the international legal system, implementing targeted sanctions, and redesignating Burma as a Country of Particular Concern for engaging in systematic, ongoing, and egregious violations of religious freedom.

SOURCE United States Commission on International Religious Freedom