U.S. Cuts Military Aid to Myanmar over Rohingya Displacement

The U.S. announced it will end military aid to several Myanmar units involved in the forced displacement of the Rohingya minority, Foreign Policy writes. The State Department has announced that units and officers involved in operations in Myanmar’s Rakhine State will not receive or participate in any U.S. assistance programs.

Washington has also decided to cancel invitations for senior Burmese security forces to attend U.S.-sponsored events, urging Myanmar authorities to grant the international observers and media unrestricted access to the sites of alleged abuses.

“We are assessing authorities under the JADE Act to consider economic options available to target individuals associated with atrocities,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, referring to the 2008 Block Burmese JADE (Junta’s Anti-Democratic Efforts) Act.

Although Nauert noted the United States’ “continued support” for Burma’s democratic transition, patience with the crackdown on the Rohingya minotiry is running thin, Foreign Policy adds.

Last week Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the United States held Myanmar’s military leadership accountable for the atrocities perpetrated against the Rohingya. On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that U.S. officials are working on a recommendation for Tillerson to qualify the plight of the Rohingya Muslims as “ethnic cleansing,” a move that would increase pressure on the Trump administration to reimpose sanctions on Myanmar, Foreign Policy notes.

The Myanmar government, however, says that Muslim Rohingya are not rightful citizens of the Buddhist-majority country, referring to them as “Bengalis,” while the country’s military leaders portray the minority as sympathizers of Muslim extremism.

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