This picture taken by Jashim Salam is the 2018 iPhone Photo of the year awarded just a few days ago on July 18 in New York City. It captures a refugee camp of Rohingya Muslims living on the border of Bangladesh and Myanmar as they view a film on health and sanitation.
In our world of terrible heartache and struggle, the plight of the Rohingya is one of the greatest global crises unfolding before our very eyes. Fleeing ethnic cleansing, rape, and torture from the Myanmar military, the Rohingya have trekked by the hundreds of thousands to their northern border with Bangladesh, where the government maintains they are not capable of dealing with the massive humanitarian need that continues to grow day by day.
Please take the five minutes required to view this report from VICE news that aired earlier on HBO. You can also find other compelling videos from VICE on youtube if you wish to continue watching.
Two bills have passed lower committees in the U.S. Senate and House. Senate Bill S. 2060 was passed unanimously by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee in February of 2018. Then a revamped bill, H.R. 5819 was reintroduced in May 2018, also passing unanimously by the House Foreign Affairs Committee. An amended bill of this action passed the full House of Representatives, 382-30 in May.
For reasons unknown, our State Senator Mitch McConnell has refused to now take up this action on the Senate floor. In a nutshell, the bill offers support to Burma's civilian government while calling out the abject cruelty and human rights abuses of their military. It also releases $ 131 million in humanitarian relief.
I've been working with leaders of the American Jewish World Service and the Kentucky Council of Churches to ask our Senator to help move this legislation through his chamber. A few of us are meeting with one of his staff on Wednesday, July 24th requesting his immediate support and action for passage of the Burma Human Rights and Freedom Act of 2018.
Here's what you can do! Please pray for our meeting on Wednesday and add the struggles of the Rohingya people to your devotional concerns. Of course, this does not minimize any of our worries and interventions for refugees or the immigration issue in our own country but helps us recognize the extraordinary pressure from similar situations occurring all over our globe.
If you are willing, please follow this link and sign your name to the petition sponsored by the Kentucky Council of Churches. We are just two dozen signatures shy of our goal of 250. This petition will be submitted to Senator McConnell's office during our visit.
In these critical times, may we, the church and all people of faith and goodwill, step forward for the cause of justice and compassion, wherever it is needed on the face of the earth.
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