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ABA Urges United States and Other Governments to Respond to Crimes Committed Against the Rohingya

San Francisco, CA - At the 2019 American Bar Association (ABA) Annual Meeting in San Francisco, the ABA House of Delegates passed a policy resolution urging the United States and other governments to respond to crimes committed against the Rohingya population in Burma/Myanmar. The resolution was submitted by the ABA Section of International Law. Specifically, the resolution urged that certain U.S. government officials make a public determination on crimes committed against the Rohingya, impose targeted sanctions against Burmese/Myanmar military leaders, and pressure the Burma/Myanmar government to allow access for humanitarian aid in Rakhine State and end serious human rights violations against minorities in Myanmar.

The resolution also called upon the United Nations Security Council (and urging US support) to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court. Various UN fact-finding and investigative bodies, in addition to many civil society organizations, have documented alleged genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes committed against the Rohingya. The International Criminal Court Prosecutor has opened an investigation into certain crimes committed against the Rohingya, but the Court only has limited jurisdiction over crimes where at least part of the crime occurred in Bangladesh (an ICC state party) since Myanmar is not a state party.

Lastly, the resolution encouraged the United States and other countries to engage with the Bangladesh government to remove barriers to efficient humanitarian assistance and to ensure that future repatriation is safe and voluntary, mindful of necessary human rights protections.

The full resolution and its accompanying report can be found on the ABA’s House of Delegates website.


The International Criminal Court (ICC) Project, jointly supported by the ABA’s Center for Human Rights and Criminal Justice Section, seeks to advance international criminal justice and US-ICC relations through advocacy, education and practical legal assistance. For more information about the ABA’s ICC Project, please visit its website.