As Buddhists and fellow human beings we are appalled and shocked at the treatment of minority Rohingya Muslims at the hands of the military and government of Buddhist majority Myanmar. This crisis, as it has escalated over a number of months, has included well-documented acts of killing and brutality against men, women and children. As a result, more than 600,000 Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh in a desperate attempt to escape the violence.

These actions have been condemned by the Dalai Lama, the Buddhist Churches of America and many prominent Western Buddhist leaders and practitioners. The U.S. State Department recently categorized these actions as “ethnic cleansing,” which may lead to sanctions against Myanmar’s government.

These harmful actions are inconsistent with Buddhist teachings. We add our voices to those who have spoken out against these atrocities and we stand as witnesses to the cruelty that is taking place. We reaffirm our intention to reduce suffering for all beings, none excepted.

The U.S. must continue to hold the government of Myanmar accountable and to stand clearly against human rights abuses.

We call on the U.S. to exert its influence on the Myanmar government to respect the rights of the Rohingya community. We applaud Sen. Jeff Merkley’s work on this issue, which includes provisions for a pathway to citizenship and for repatriation of Rohingya refugees.

Barry Reeves

Corvallis (Dec. 19)

The author writes on behalf of Buddhists Responding, a group of local Buddhists addressing issues of social justice.

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