US Declares Myanmar's Rohingya Violence as Genocide

By IndraStra Global News Team

Cover Image Attribute:  Rohingya women in refugee camps in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, March 2018. / Source: UN Women
Cover Image Attribute:  The file photo of Rohingya women in refugee camps in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, March 2018. / Source: UN Women / For more photos, click here (Flickr)

On March 21, 2022, the United States declared Myanmar's military's 2017 deadly crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority as a genocide. US lawmakers and human rights activists hailed the move as long overdue and necessary to hold the military accountable for crimes against humanity. According to US investigators, Tatmadaw (the official name of the armed forces of Myanmar) committed atrocities such as mass murders, gang rapes, mutilations, crucifixions, and child burning and drowning.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken made the announcement Monday morning during an event at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. He made the following remarks;

"I have determined that the members of the Burmese military committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Rohingya."

"The attack against Rohingya was widespread and systematic, which is crucial for reaching a determination of crimes against humanity."

He further added;

"Three-quarters of those interviewed said that they personally witnessed members of the military kill someone. More than half witnessed acts of sexual violence. One in five witnessed a mass casualty event, that is, the killing or injuring of more than 100 people in a single incident," 

"These percentages matter. They demonstrate that these abuses were not isolated cases. … This demonstrates the military's intent went beyond ethnic cleansing to the actual destruction of Rohingya."

Tun Khin, a UK-based Rohingya activist, said Washington's declaration would increase pressure on Tatmadaw, which seized power by force from an elected civilian government last year, resulting in more bloodshed.

According to United Nations investigators, Tatmadaw committed mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingya in 2018 with "genocidal intent." According to the rights group Doctors Without Borders, at least 6,700 Rohingya were killed in the 2017 crackdown. However, the US government has referred to it as "ethnic cleansing" rather than "genocide," which carries more legal weight.

NOTE 1: Myanmar, a country of 54 million people roughly the size of France, recognizes 135 official ethnic groups, with the majority of the population being Burmans. The ethnic group known as Rohingya is not recognized. The Rohingya have been discriminated against in Myanmar for decades and are effectively stateless. Their citizenship has been revoked. Burmese authorities have refused to refer to them as "Rohingya," preferring to use the term "Bengali."

NOTE 2: In accordance with Article 2 of the 1948 United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, genocide is defined as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”

With reporting by Radio Free Asia 

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IndraStra Global: US Declares Myanmar's Rohingya Violence as Genocide
US Declares Myanmar's Rohingya Violence as Genocide
By IndraStra Global News Team
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