According to a news article by Al Jazeera of Tuesday the 27th of October, there is ‘strong evidence’ that a genocide against the Rohingya people at the hands of the Myanmar government is, and has been, taking place.
The Lowenstein Clinic of Yale Law School, a clinic that undertakes a wide variety of projects involving students of Yale Law School and which is working on behalf of human rights organisations and individual victims of human rights abuses, spent eight months assessing evidence from Myanmar.
The clinic concluded that it was hard to avoid a conclusion that intent to commit genocide is present, given the scale of the atrocities and the way politicians in Myanmar talk about the Rohingya muslim minority of the country.
Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit and the advocacy group Fortify Rights provided documents and testimonies to the study. According to this evidence, “the government has been triggering communal violence for political gain by inciting anti-Muslim riots, using hate speech to stoke fear among the Myanmarese about Muslims, and offering money to hardline Buddhist groups who threw their support behind the leadership.”
Al Jazeera has also published a new documentary, Genocide Agenda, which consults legal and diplomatic experts on whether the government‘s campaign amounts to systematic extermination.
Rohingyas have often been called the most persecuted minority in the world, unable to claim citizenship in Myanmar (where about 1.1m of them live in Rakhine), or in any other country.
A recent Amnesty International report of 21 October, ‘Deadly journeys: The refugee and trafficking crisis in Southeast Asia’, documented the abuses that Rohingya women, men, and children suffered while attempting to flee persecution in Myanmar by boat. Hundreds, maybe even thousands, of refugees have lost their lives at sea or were trafficked into labour situations. Many other Rohingya who did make it to Indonesia across the Andaman Sea spoke about daily physical abuse, including deadly abuse, by human traffickers.
According to the report:
“Many Rohingya said that they had seen crew members kill people when their families failed to pay ransoms. Some people were shot by the traffickers on the boats while others were thrown overboard and left to drown. Others died because of lack of food and water or disease.”
Earlier this month, a coalition of Muslim groups has filed suit in New York against President Thein Sein of Myanmar and other government officials for alleged crimes against the Rohingya that they say amount to genocide.
Myanmar, which emerged in 2011 from half a century of military rule, is due to hold highly anticipated elections next month. The current ruling, military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) is running against numerous ethnic and other parties, but primarily against the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung Sang Suu Kyi.