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Statement by the White House Press Secretary on the Violence in Burma
September 13, 2017

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
Washington, DC, September 11, 2017

The United States is deeply troubled by the ongoing crisis in northern Rakhine State in Burma, where at least 300,000 people have fled their homes in the wake of attacks on Burmese security posts on August 25.  We reiterate our condemnation of those attacks and ensuing violence.

The massive displacement and victimization of people, including large numbers of the ethnic Rohingya community and other minorities, shows that Burmese security forces are not protecting civilians.  We are alarmed by the allegations of human rights abuses, including extrajudicial killings, burning of villages, massacres, and rape, by security forces and by civilians acting with these forces’ consent.  We call on Burmese security authorities to respect the rule of law, stop the violence, and end the displacement of civilians from all communities.  We also urge Burmese security forces to work with the elected government in implementing the Rakhine Commission’s recommendations.

We welcome the Burmese government’s commitment to ensure that humanitarian assistance reaches victims as quickly as possible.  We urge the government to allow media access to the afflicted areas as soon as possible.  Most of those displaced by the violence have fled into neighboring Bangladesh and we greatly appreciate the significant efforts of the government of Bangladesh to facilitate humanitarian assistance.

(end statement)