CHICAGO (CBS) — Two members of the Illinois Congressional Delegation returned from a trip to Southeast Asia to see “the oppression facing a minority group” firsthand.
Sen. Dick Durbin and Rep. Jan Schakowsky visited the Rohingya Cultural Center in Chicago Sunday to talk about their visit to Burma and Bangladesh.
They said they weren’t given the access to Rohingya communities they were promised by the Myanmar government. And Schakowsky said it’s time for the U.S. and international community to pressure the Myanmar government to end an ongoing ethnic cleansing crisis, which involves crimes such as murder and rape.
“Literally thousands and thousands of stories of atrocities that we were able to hear and to see and that are happening now — in front of the eyes of the world,” she said. “In the last few months, over 600,000 people have fled Myanmar over to Bangladesh.”
In a tweet, Durbin said: “What we saw in Burma and Bangladesh was heartbreaking and horrifying. We must be crystal clear that the US will not tolerate persecution of Rohingya men, women, and children.
“It is time to pass by bipartisan bill sanctioning the Burmese military responsible for this crime against humanity.”
Durbin has introduced legislation to impose targeted sanctions and travel restrictions on senior military officials in Myanmar, who he says are responsible for the cruel acts against the Rohingya people.
“Their situation is intolerable, and we stand with them. Ethnic cleansing can have no home in the 21st century,” Schakowsky tweeted.