Friday, June 17, 2016

A message from Tom Andrews

Habib,

We are writing with important and exciting news – United to End Genocide and Fortify Rights are joining forces to protect and defend those whose lives are in peril in Burma. We will soon be doing our work – along with you and thousands of other activists and supporters – under the banner of Fortify Rights.

Your voice is now even more important than ever!

United to End Genocide and Fortify Rights have worked together closely to shine a light on the continued brutality against the Rohingya and the Burma Army’s ongoing attacks and abuses against the Kachin and other ethnic minorities. In our latest collaboration, we produced a report based on more than 40 interviews we conducted with eyewitnesses and survivors of human rights violations as well as U.N. officials and others.

We released our report in Washington, exposing how the Burmese authorities continue to confine more than 140,000 Rohingya to squalid internment camps, while imposing severe restrictions, particularly on freedom of movement, against more than a million other Muslims in Rakhine State.

You and thousands of other advocates joined our plea for President Obama to maintain sanctions on Burma (also known as Myanmar) until all Rohingya are free from prosecution. And he did! While President Obama lifted some sanctions against certain banks and companies, because of your voice, the administration maintained the “blacklist” preventing human rights abusers from doing business with the United States. It's also still illegal for U.S. companies to do business with Burma's military.

We won this campaign by combining our two organizations’ unique strengths. Fortify Rights works on the ground in Burma to investigate human rights violations. They also provide tools to human rights defenders on the front lines of these violations, so that they can document abuse and advocate for change. United to End Genocide, with its base of advocates like you and supporters in Congress and the media, translates this documented evidence and analysis into broad-based action.

We believe that now is the time to team up and marshal our resources. We’re making our partnership permanent so that your financial and advocacy support can go even further to keep the plight of the Rohingya – and the actions of Burma’s government and military – in the spotlight.

The need is great. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is heading up a chorus of business leaders intent on normalizing U.S. relations with Burma. They didn’t succeed in getting all sanctions removed, but we know they won’t let up.

As we move forward, you will continue to be briefed on breaking events from Burma and other parts of Southeast Asia – and will be asked to join and support advocacy campaigns – from Fortify Rights. We hope you will continue your engagement because your voice is needed more than ever.

But for now, we want to share our news and encourage you to continue your strong support. The fact is, we don’t take your support – in the past or in the future – for granted. Your voice and the voices of thousands like you have been so incredibly important for Rohingya men, women and children suffering needlessly in Burma. Under the banner of Fortify Rights, we will continue to strive to earn your support and engagement.

Many thanks for all that you do!

In solidarity,

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