JCPA has long advocated for the vigorous protection of human rights as an integral part of U.S. foreign policy, working to prevent atrocities before they occur, protect and aid victims, and prosecute those responsible—especially in situations involving genocide, mass atrocities, and displacement due to violence and persecution. Throughout our history, JCPA has sought to halt genocides, such as by lobbying for American intervention in Bosnia and helping to lead the Save the Darfur Coalition (2004-2016), which included over 190 religious, political, and human rights groups. We believe that the U.S. should be a leader in providing international humanitarian aid and preventing genocide and other mass atrocities.
Today, JCPA’s primary focus is on the genocides perpetrated against the Rohingya and Uyghur people, ethnic and religious minorities residing in the Rakhine State of Burma (Myanmar) and the northwestern Xinjiang Province of China, respectively.
Since August 2017, the Burmese military has engaged in a brutal genocide against the Rohingya people. Soldiers have razed entire Rohingya villages; indiscriminately massacred thousands of Rohingya men, women, and children; and forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes and make the perilous journey to Bangladesh’s refugee camps. In 2019, JCPA’s member organizations unanimously voted to declare that the atrocities perpetrated against the Rohingya people constitute a genocide—the first time the Jewish community has issued a genocide determination before the United States government. As a cofounder and active member of the Jewish Rohingya Justice Network, JCPA and its partners are urging the federal government to make a genocide determination for the Rohingya people, triggering a range of governmental actions; provide more humanitarian aid; and mandate targeted sanctions against military leaders responsible for the crimes.
On January 19, 2021, the United States government determined there was irrefutable evidence that the Chinese Communist Party (the Chinese government) is engaging in a campaign of gross human rights violations against the Uyghur that constitute genocide. Since 2017, China has detained two to three million Uyghurs in forced labor camps. They are subject to torture, sterilization, sanctioned rape, and murder. The Xinjiang Province is the source of approximately 20% of the world’s supply of cotton. Multiple American companies source materials that can be traced back to Uyghur forced labor camps. While securing a genocide determination was a crucial step forward, JCPA believes the United States must apply additional economic sanctions and expand the targeted ban on products produced in or imported from the region.
For JCPA, “never again” is not a slogan, but a firm, moral commitment to speak up and act in the face of atrocities.