House passes resolution calling for release of Reuters journalists jailed in Myanmar

The House overwhelmingly passed a resolution on Wednesday calling on Myanmar to release jailed Reuters journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo.

The resolution was passed by a 394-1 vote after being introduced by Rep. Steve ChabotSteven (Steve) Joseph ChabotWe can curb potential pandemics by investing in prevention tactics Top Myanmar court rejects jailed Reuters journalists' final appeal Four decades of the Taiwan Relations Act remains a monument to our resolve to uphold democracy MORE (R-Ohio). 

The two journalists, who are among "Time" magazine's Person of the Year in 2018, were sentenced to seven years in prison after investigating attacks by Myanmar's military and security forces on civilians.

The House resolution also urges the secretary of State to join Congress in formally declaring genocide in Myanmar over the government's attack on the Rohingya people.

“With this resolution, the House will take the important step of naming the atrocities committed against the Rohingya people in Burma what they are: genocide,” House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed RoyceEdward (Ed) Randall RoyceFormer GOP chairman Royce joins lobbying shop Lawmakers propose banning shark fin trade Bottom Line MORE (R-Calif.) said on the floor.

“The Rohingya people, predominantly of Burma’s Rakhine state, are often called the world’s most persecuted minority. The Rohingya are essentially stateless people, as the Burmese government refuses to recognize them as citizens — despite the fact that the Rohingya people have lived in Burma for generations.”

The journalists played a pivotal role in uncovering the Myanmar military's mass graves. They were arrested in December of last year.
House leadership prioritized bringing the measure to the floor before the end of the year.
--Updated at 12:43 p.m.