The United States has shared information with The Gambia in connection with the case the latter brought forward against Myanmar under the Genocide Convention at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over atrocities committed against the Rohingyas.
"We stand ready to support a holistic transitional justice process to address the long history of atrocities once such a process becomes viable to respect the demands of victims and survivors for truth, reparation, justice, and non-recurrence," US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, Uzra Zeya, said.
Acknowledging the genocide as the first step, not the last, she said, all must take the next steps together to bring an end to the violence and prevent the recurrence of atrocities.
Zeya was speaking on the occasion of six years since the start of the horrific genocide against Rohingyas, said the US Department of State.
She thanked members of the Rohingya diaspora who joined in. "I applaud your resilience in the face of ongoing persecution," she said.
Over the course of 2016 and 2017, Myanmar’s military brutally attacked Rohingya communities.
Systematic acts of violence, including torture, sexual and gender-based violence, and mass killings led to largescale displacement and loss of thousands of innocent lives.
The Myanmar military targeted one of the most vulnerable and marginalized populations in the country, forcing over 740,000 Rohingyas to seek refuge in Bangladesh.
The rippling impact of those attacks continues today, six years later.
Bangladesh hosts over a million Rohingya refugees, with significant numbers seeking refuge in nearby countries.
Many more remain internally displaced in Myanmar’s Rakhine State.
"During my visit to Bangladesh in July, I met with Rohingya refugees, who shared personal stories of the horrific violence they and their families endured in Burma and the fear of continued persecution that prevents their return," Zeya said.
The gradual loss of rights, citizenship, homes, and even their lives in the years leading up to the 2016-2017 outbreak of atrocities made clear that the regime sought to destroy Rohingya communities based on a false, discriminatory narrative of ethnic and religious differences.
This false narrative attempts to obscure the fact that Rohingyas have been an integral part of Myanmar society for generations.
"We are unwavering in our commitment to provide assistance to survivors and victims, seek accountability for those responsible, and pursue justice for the survivors and victims," Zeya said.
In terms of providing assistance, the United States is the leading single donor of life-saving humanitarian assistance to this cause.
They have provided more than $2.1 billion to assist those affected by the crisis in Myanmar, Bangladesh, and elsewhere in the region since 2017.
Recognizing that Rohingyas cannot safely return to their homeland in Myanmar under current conditions, she said, resettlement is another important way in which we contribute.
Since 2009, the United States has warmly welcomed nearly 13,000 Rohingyas from the region, including from Bangladesh.
"Our work is not just humanitarian, we also must move towards accountability," Zeya said.
The US also provides support to the UN’s Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, which has a mandate to collect, consolidate, preserve, and analyze evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011.
US support includes providing the mechanism with $2 million of funding to strengthen its ability to conduct open-source investigations and to protect witnesses and victims.
"We are not alone in seeking accountability. On Wednesday, we joined 12 other nations on the UN Security Council in a joint statement calling out the continued, unrelenting violence perpetrated by the military regime," Zeya said.
This statement called on the regime to restore the rights of the Rohingyas.
On Wednesday, the United States expanded its Myanmar-related sanctions on authorities to include any foreign individual or entity operating in the jet fuel sector of Myanmar’s economy and designated two individuals and three entities under this authority.
This expansion follows US sanction actions already taken this year that designated Burma’s Ministry of Defense, its two largest regime-controlled banks, the Ministry of Energy, and other individual military-affiliated cronies.
Zeya said they will continue to use their sanctions authorities to deprive the military regime of the resources that enable it to oppress its people and urge others to take similar accountability measures.
"Justice for victims is also crucial. The United States coordinates with international partners and NGOs to support the Rohingya courageously seeking justice in the courts of Argentina for the atrocities committed against them," she said.
Zeya said they are actively working with civil society and members of the Rohingya community to document the atrocities and other abuses committed against them.
Secretary Blinken’s determination in March 2022 that members of Myanmar’s military committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Rohingya was a historic occasion.
This marked only the eighth time the United States has come to such a critical conclusion, she said.
"We must take into account the needs of survivors, including creating the conditions to enable refugees’ safe, voluntary, dignified, and sustainable return. We must address the military’s continued impunity for human rights abuses. And, we must support the fight for justice for those who have suffered," Zeya said.
The US official said, "Taking these steps is how we can ensure a peaceful, prosperous, and democratic Myanmar that respects the human rights of all."