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AMERICAN JEWISH WORLD SERVICE: Responding to the Rohingya Genocide

In 2017, after decades of persecuting the Rohingya people of western Burma, the Burmese military unleashed a genocide. An estimated 740,000 Rohingya civilians fled fire, mass murder and rape. They escaped on foot into Bangladesh, where today they cling to survival in crowded camps prone to flooding and disease. AJWS responded immediately—via an outpouring of support by the Jewish community that funded emergency food, shelter and boats to ferry survivors to safety. Two years on, we’re proud that our grantees have improved hygiene for 120,000 refugees, trained 80 health care volunteers, and ensured that 7,500 children have access to medical help and education following the trauma they’ve faced. When we promised “Never Again”—we meant it. AJWS is applying the full force of our advocacy to rouse the world from silence. We’re supporting Rohingya activists to speak out on Capitol Hill and at the UN. We’re also leading the Jewish Rohingya Justice Network (JRJN), a coalition of 25 organizations that has mobilized hundreds of rabbis and thousands of individuals to press for justice for the Rohingya people. And our voices are being heard: In 2018, we helped secure increased humanitarian aid from the U.S. for Rohingya refugees; and in 2019, the U.S. sanctioned Burmese military officials responsible for the atrocities. This August, AJWS delivered a letter signed by nearly 600 rabbis calling on the State Department to forge a path for justice and accountability for these unspeakable crimes.

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American Jewish World Service

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