skip to Main Content

Letter to Sec. Pompeo From The Faith Coalition To End Genocide In Burma

October 17, 2018

The Honorable Michael Pompeo


Secretary of State United States

Department of State

2201 C Street, NW

Washington, DC 20230


Dear Mr. Secretary,

We, the undersigned organizations, request that the United States Department of State officially designate the recent atrocities committed against the Rohingya, and other ethnic and religious minorities in the nation of Burma, as both genocide and crimes against humanity.

The State Department’s report “Documentation of Atrocities in Northern Rakhine State” clearly               reveals that Myanmar’s military “waged a planned, coordinated campaign of mass killings, gang rapes and other atrocities against the Southeast Asian nation’s Rohingya Muslim minority.”

On September 26, 2018, the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee held a hearing that unanimously declared the situation in Burma a genocide. This bi-partisan effort led by Chairman Ed Royce (R-CA) and Ranking Member Elliott Engel (D-NY) introduced a resolution (H.R. 1091) that calls for the release of the Reuters journalists who were unjustly sentenced in Burma earlier this month and declares the House’s position that the atrocities committed by the Burmese military against the Rohingya were genocide.

Credible studies reveal findings of gross violations of human rights that meet the elements under international humanitarian and criminal law for such designations. The August 2018 United Nations Human Rights Council International Independent Fact-Finding Mission (Mission) on Myanmar explain undeniable facts that point to no other reasonable conclusion.

“Genocide occurs when a person commits a prohibited act with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group, as such. The Rohingya are a protected group under this definition. Their treatment by the Myanmar security forces, acting in concert with certain civilians, includes conduct which amounts to four of the five defined prohibited acts; (a) killing, (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm, (c) inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of the group in whole or in part, and (d) imposing measures intending to prevent births.

The critical element of the crime is “genocidal intent.” The Mission assessed its body of information in light of the jurisprudence of international tribunals regarding the reasonable inference of such intent. The crimes in Rakhine State, and the manner in which they were perpetrated, are similar in nature, gravity and scope to those that have allowed genocidal intent to be established in other contexts. Factors pointing at such intent include the broader oppressive context and hate rhetoric; specific utterances of commanders and direct perpetrators; exclusionary policies, including to alter the demographic composition of Rakhine State; the level of organization indicating a plan for destruction; and the extreme scale and brutality of the violence.

The Trump Administration’s leadership on this issue is critical to stand against ethnic and religious persecution. It is critical to act now, as the same military divisions that attacked the Rohingya, have relocated to Kachin State where they are positioning themselves to commit the same atrocities against the Kachin Christians. Burma’s Christian population is estimated at four to six million. We urgently encourage you to take immediate action by articulating a moral, political, and policy designation respecting the dignity and safety of victimized Burmese individuals. This data is the tool needed to make a genocide declaration. We call on you as the chief diplomat for the United States, to take this bold humanitarian step and provide the leadership to the international community that is desperately needed with this declaration.


Greg Mitchell, Co-Chair, International Religious Freedom Roundtable

Grover Norquist, Americans for Tax Reform

Property Rights Alliance

Bhuchung Tsering, International Campaign for Tibet

Nguyen Dinh Thang, PhD, CEO & President, Boat People SOS

Thien Nguyen, Buddhist Solidarity Association 

Hanh Thai-Tang, The Junior Sacerdotal Caodai Council

Jianli Yang, Citizen Power Initiatives for China=

Dr. Carl Herbster, President, AdvanceUSA

Colin Christopher, Islamic Society of North America

Kelly Yaegermann, The Way To Happiness Association of Tampa Bay

Scott Morgan, Red Eagle Enterprises

Lawrence I. Lerner, Union of Councils for Jews in the Former Soviet Union

Association for Advancing Freedom of Religion or Belief in Vietnam (AFoRB-VN)

Helen Ngo, Chairwoman, Committee for Religious Freedom in Vietnam

Vietnamese Women for Human Rights

Vietnam – Coalition Against Torture (VN-CAT)

Tony Tran, Chairman, Con Dau Parishioners Association

Hammad Ahmad, Ahmadiyya Community

Abdelkarim Benothman, Religious freedom, peace and human rights activist

DOVA International Charities, Ltd.

Michael Farris, President, CEO & General Counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom

Bob Roberts, Founding Pastor, Northwood Church and President, GlocalNet

Greg Surratt, Founding Pastor, Seacoast Church and President, Association of Related Churches

JD Greer, President, Southern Baptist Convention and Pastor, The Summit Church

Micah Fries, Senior Pastor, Brainerd Baptist Church

Nic Burleson, Founding Pastor, Timber Ridge Church

Abdul Malik Mujahid, Chair, Burma Task Force

Imam Mohamed Magid

The Rev. Dr. Chloe Breyer, Executive Director, The Interfaith Center of New York

Hena Zuberi, Justice For All

Muhammad Shafiq, Professor, Islamic Center of Rochester

Shaukhat Kyaw Soe Aung Ali, Founder and Executive Director, Rohingya American Society

Donald Palmer, Muslim Association of Virginia

Humaira Ali M.D., Interfaith Group

Wa’el Alzayat, CEO, Emgage Action

Imam Omar Suleiman, Founder and President, Yaqeen Institute of Islamic Research

Rev. Petra Zenryū Hubbeling, Zen Peacemakers Low Lands

Brighter Future Counseling

Ocean Zendo

Melanie Klein, Executive Director and Buddhist Minister of the Boulder Shambhala Center

Charley Rosicky, Director of Health and Wellbeing, Boulder Shambhala Center

Kelly R. Perline, CAGS, M.Ed, Perline Center for Compassion and Connection

Julia Gies, Cedar Hills United Church of Christ

Hoka Chris Fortin , Dharma Heart Zen

Rev. Reirin Gumbel, Milwaukee Zen Center

Stephanie Monroney, Seattle Soto Zen

Windham County Buddhists

Brittany Porter, Buddhist Action Coalition NYC

Kathleen Y. Drury, Buddhist Peace Fellowship Chicago

Alfonso Taboada, acharya, Shambhala

Suntheary Cheavor, Peace For All

Sophie Leger, Director of Translations, Shambhala International

Mushin Terris, Spiritual Director, Buddhists Responding Corvallis

Rev. Zuiko Redding, Cedar Rapids Zen Center – Jikyouji (Buddhist)

Simon Billeness, International Campaign for the Rohingya

Upasaka ShenJing Gilenson, Bodhi & Bass Hermitage

Judith O’Brien, Principal, Alliance Architecture

Travis Wussow, VP for Public Policy, ERLC

Danny Akin, President, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

Philippe Nassif, Executive Director, In Defense of Christians

Matias Perttula, Advocacy Director, International Christian Concern

Rev. Denis Hoin Darby, Zen Priest, Engaged Buddhism

Greater Saint Louis Buddhism

Michael Calvisi, Shambhala

St. John’s Shambhala

Ven. Sangye Khadro, Teacher, FPMT

Miekie Awater, Pensionada Federation Dutch Union

Jerome Freedman, PhD, Mindfulness Breaks

Mara Lenon, BScN, MSW, Social Worker, psychotherapist, Mara Lenon Counselling

Nazim Ahmed, Awareness of Myanmar’s Genocide

Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW)

Rev. Dr. Robert L. Brashear, HR, Presbytery of New York City

Gary Allen, Education Director, Ratna Peace Initiative

Ven. Amala Wrightson, New Zealand Buddhist Council

Rabbi Michael Feinberg, Director, Greater New York Labor-Religion Coalition

Rev. Dr. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki, Heiwa Peace and Reconciliation Foundation of New York

Ecclesia Ministries of New York






Back To Top