US House Declares 'Genocide' Is Occurring In Myanmar

In a near unanimous vote, House lawmakers passed a resolution calling the ongoing violence against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar 'genocide.'
Posted at 6:13 PM, Dec 13, 2018

On Thursday, the U.S. House took a significant step regarding the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Myanmar.  

In a near unanimous decision, they voted to pass a resolution declaring the actions of Myanmar's military against the Rohingya Muslims genocide. More specifically, HR 91 says the U.S. has a "moral obligation" to declare what's happened to the Muslim minority group genocide. 

Of the 394 lawmakers who voted for it, Republican Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.) was the only one to vote no. 

A spokesman for Biggs told Politico he "condemns" what has happened to the Rohingya, but the "U.S. should not cede its leverage and sovereignty to international institutions, particularly the International Criminal Court." America is not a member of the ICC.

In September, the State Department released a report that called the violence against the Rohingya "extreme, large-scale and widespread," but not genocide.  This week, a State Department official said the U.S. remains focused on trying to help improve the situation and "promoting accountability for those that were responsible for these atrocities." 

According to the United Nations, the Myanmar military has killed at least 10,000 Rohingya and about 700,000 have fled the country to escape the violence.   

Thursday's resolution also calls for the "immediate pardon and release" of two Reuters journalists who Myanmar authorities imprisoned for reporting on the crisis.   

Additional reporting from Newsy affiliate CNN