Levin Demands Release of Journalists Convicted for Covering Violence Against Rohingya

Sep 7, 2018 Issues: Foreign Affairs

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Representative Sandy Levin (D-MI) issued the following statement after introducing a resolution today condemning efforts by authorities in Burma, also known as Myanmar, to suppress information related to the oppression and violence inflicted upon Rohingya civilians.

“This resolution calls on Burma’s civilian government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, to immediately and unconditionally release two Reuters journalists recently sentenced to 7 years in prison for violating state secrets laws after reporting on atrocities committed against Rohingya Muslims.

“Last month, the United Nations issued a report calling for Burma’s military leaders to be investigated and prosecuted on charges of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes, and it also stated that Suu Kyi failed to use her moral authority to protect the Rohingya.

“I met personally with Aung San Suu Kyi a few years ago and was inspired by her story of not only perseverance but triumph over oppression.  It is vital for Suu Kyi to openly address the brutal repression of Burma’s Rohingya Muslims. It is within her power to free two reporters imprisoned for revealing the truth about the treatment of the Rohingya and the House of Representatives should call on her to exercise that authority.

“This week’s sentencing of Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo, the Reuters reporters whose coverage helped bring to light the widespread violence against the Rohingya, was an injustice and must be overturned.”

Earlier this year, Rep. Levin delivered remarks on the House Floor urging Congress to confront the atrocities and last year, he introduced a resolution condemning the violence against the Rohingya. A companion resolution was introduced in the U.S. Senate by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ).