Statement on USCIRF Hearing on Burma
February 9, 2023
Washington, DC — On February 8, 2023, the US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) held a virtual hearing on religious freedom in Burma two years after the military coup. The panel was led by USCIRF Chair Nury Turkel, with Vice Chair Abraham Cooper and Commissioners David Curry, Frederick Davie, Mohamed Magid, Stephen Schneck, and Frank Wolf in attendance.
CAM Executive Director Zo Tum Hmung provided an oral briefing and written testimony as part of the panel. Other panelists included Priscilla Clapp of the US Institute of Peace, Kyaw Zeyar Win of the International Republican Institute, and Wai Wai Nu, Executive Director of the Women’s Peace Network in Burma. Video highlights from the hearing can be found at VOA Burmese and RFA Burmese .
Mr. Hmung highlighted the following key recommendations in his oral testimony:
To the Biden Administration:
- Designate atrocities against Christian minorities, especially the Chins, as war crimes and crimes against humanity, consistent with the designation of crimes targeting the Rohingya
- Work with the National Unity Government, ethnic armed organizations and others to allocate non-lethal assistance for the protection of civilians from Tatmadaw air attacks.
To the U.S. Congress:
- Conduct a Congressional Fact-Finding mission to the Indo-Burma border area and Thai-Burma border area related to the protection and humanitarian needs of IDPs and refugees from Burma and related to the atrocities, including gender-based atrocities, against religious minorities, including Christians.
- Include language condemning the violations of religious freedom by the Tatmadaw in future US legislation and UN resolutions on Burma, especially at the UN Security Council.