A Letter of Appeal from US Buddhist Teachers
We are sending you this request to help with a Buddhist Emergency Fund for the Rohingya of Burma. The Rohingya, an ethnic minority group of the Muslim faith living in Burma, face a dire situation, requiring immediate attention and support. Described by the United Nations as the most persecuted minority on earth, they have been denied citizenship, health care, education, and adequate food while forced to live in harsh and restrictive apartheid-like conditions. One hundred and forty thousand have been forced into squalid camps that have been called open-air prisons.
Many thousands have tried to escape by putting their lives into the hands of human traffickers and heading out to sea. Untold numbers of Rohingya have now been abandoned and left floating in rickety boats without food, water or medical care. Governments in the region and the world have refused to launch a search and rescue mission to save them and some navies have even pulled these desperate people further out to sea.
Because this refugee nightmare is in part due to the policies of Buddhist countries, principally Burma and also Thailand as well as Malaysia and Indonesia, it seems especially important for Buddhists around the world to visibly respond according to the central Buddhist values of compassion and respect for all beings.
This appeal is also inspired by the first Buddhist leadership conference at the White House that was held last week. 120 abbots and diverse leaders from temples and centers of all nationalities and traditions across the U.S. came together to bring Buddhist wisdom and compassionate concern to such problems as climate change, racism, the plight of the Rohingya and relief for Nepal.
Please read the appeal below and send it as widely as you can to the members of your own community and to the leaders of other Buddhist communities whom you know.
We are grateful for your help in this critical time.
PS – The Rohingya are a minority ethnic group of the Muslim faith living in Rakhine State, Burma. Although they have resided there for generations, the Myanmar government refuses to recognize them as citizens and has been subjecting them to a campaign of ethnic cleansing. The Rohingya have been evicted from their lands, required to pay arbitrary taxes and work at forced labor. They have been banned from traveling, getting married without permission or even having more than two children. Since 2012, many have been killed by mobs of Buddhists often incited by Buddhist monks. Now hundreds of thousands have been herded into camps, where they are harshly treated and denied basic human resources such as adequate food and medical care.
Jack Kornfield – Spirit Rock Center
Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi – Buddhist Global Relief
William Aiken – Soka Gakkai International
Tara Brach – Insight Meditation Community of Washington
Lama Surya Das – Dzogchen Foundation
Alan Senauke – International Network of Engaged Buddhists
Taigen Dan Leighton – Ancient Dragon Zen Gate
Larry Yang – Founder and Senior Teacher, East Bay Meditation Center
Rev. angel Kyodo williams – Sensei Founder Emeritus and Vision Fellow Transformative Change
Rev. Dr. T. Kenjitsu Nakagaki – President, Buddhist Council of New York
BUDDHIST EMERGENCY FUND for the ROHINGYA of BURMA
Please stand with us and join thousands of Buddhists across the West in responding to the plight of the Rohingya refugees from Burma who are lost at sea after fleeing horrific Apartheid-like conditions and what the US Holocaust Museum has described as “early warning signs of genocide”. Over one hundred and forty thousand have been forced into squalid, inhumane camps that have been described as open-air prisons.
Many thousand Rohingya have been abandoned without food on rickety boats floating on the Andaman Sea and Malacca Straits. Governments in the region and the world have refused to launch a search and rescue mission to save them and some navies have even been pulling these desperate people further out to sea. Pressure on governments to act – including the United States – have been showing initial results but the situation remains dire and a concerted effort is needed to save the many thousands whose lives are at extreme risk.
Your donation will do three things:
(1) Help get immediate food, water and medicine to refugees on the boats, and to those in the camps;
(2) Bring skillful pressure on Burma and neighboring Buddhist and Muslim countries to respond humanely to the immediate crises and save the thousands of Rohingya whose lives are at immediate risk; and
(3) Address the root cause of this crisis – the attacks on and systematic persecution of the Rohingya in Burma – through a comprehensive strategic advocacy campaign.
It will show the world the true values of respect for human life, compassion and loving kindness that are at the heart of Buddhist teachings.
The fund is administered by United To End Genocide – an organization that has proven to be very effective in shining light on the plight of the Rohingya; generating support through skillful advocacy; and building the capacity – while coordinating the efforts – of individuals and organizations who are making a difference within Burma, the region and the world.
TO HELP, PLEASE OFFER YOUR SUPPORT NOW:
AND PLEASE SEND THIS APPEAL ON TO OTHERS WHO CAN HELP!