Following the release of a September 2018 United Nations (UN) Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar report detailing horrific acts of ethnic cleansing and genocide against the Rohingya population, Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Committee on Financial Services, sent a letter to Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group, expressing concerns about the World Bank’s ongoing support for the government of Myanmar.
“If the World Bank continues to fund activities in Myanmar before the government of Myanmar formally acknowledges the brutal raping, slaughtering and ethnic cleansing of its Rohingya population, and brings those responsible to justice, I must tell you that it may become increasingly difficult to garner the necessary support in Congress for U.S. contributions to the Bank, which is difficult under the best of circumstances,” Ranking Member Waters said.
Read the full letter below.
Dr. Jim Yong Kim
World Bank Group
1818 H Street, NW
Washington, D.C. 20433
Dear President Kim:
I am extremely disappointed by the World Bank’s ongoing support for the government of Myanmar in light of credible findings by the UN of ethnic cleansing and genocide against its Rohingya population by the Myanmar military and the complicity of the country’s civilian government, led by Aung San Suu Kyi, who has not only repeatedly denied the brutal atrocities that have been carried out by military troops, but has also denied access to UN investigators.
Earlier this month, the UN’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar released its report, unprecedented in scope, of the findings of its 15-month examination of the situation in three states in Myanmar. On top of multiple previous reports of mass rape and murder by military troops—including the throwing of children and babies into burning houses alive—the UN report illustrates, in graphic detail, the violent modus operandi that has been the hallmark of military operations against its Rohingya population.
The report documents in extensive detail how military troops in Myanmar took the lead in killing thousands of Rohingya civilians—men, women, and children—as well as forced disappearances, mass gang rape and the burning of hundreds of villages. The report reveals a pattern of rape and other forms of sexual violence committed on a shocking scale. Hundreds, possibly thousands, of Rohingya women and girls were brutally raped, including in public mass gang rapes. Many victims were then killed or mutilated.
The fundamental moral case against further World Bank engagement in Myanmar is obvious and unequivocal, and the case against the World Bank’s involvement on developmental grounds is equally clear. The Bank cannot claim to support inclusive, broad-based development and growth in a country in which the military has been credibly accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity against thousands of its own people, and its civilian government has repeatedly defended its security forces against international criticism.
If the World Bank continues to fund activities in Myanmar before the government of Myanmar formally acknowledges the brutal raping, slaughtering and ethnic cleansing of its Rohingya population, and brings those responsible to justice, I must tell you that it may become increasingly difficult to garner the necessary support in Congress for U.S. contributions to the Bank, which is difficult under the best of circumstances.
The future will judge us on how we acted as an international community in response to these horrifying acts of ethnic cleansing and genocide, and for the World Bank, its relevance as the world’s leading global development institution hangs in the balance.