HomeSoutheast Asian AmericanU.S. declares Myanmar army’s attack on Rohingya as genocide

U.S. declares Myanmar army’s attack on Rohingya as genocide

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken formally declared that Myanmar’s military committed genocide and crimes against humanity against the minority Muslim Rohingya population.

“Beyond the Holocaust, the United States has concluded that genocide was committed seven times,” Blinken said at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum Monday, according to CNN. “Today marks the eighth as I have determined that members of the Burmese military committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Rohingya.” 

The determination of genocide was based on “reviewing factual assessment and legal analysis prepared by the State Department, which included documentation by a range of independent, impartial sources, as well as our own rigorous fact-finding,” Blinken said in his speech. 

Blinken also pointed to the 2018 State Department report that contained extensive information on the violence in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state.

Although the evidence in the report “points to a clear intent behind these mass atrocities — the intent to destroy Rohingya in whole or in part, through killings, rape, and torture,” Blinken said this report did not call the violence a “genocide.”

The recent declaration could lead to international pressure and create the groundwork for potential legal action, the Los Angeles Times reported. 

Myanmar’s forces launched a military operation in 2017 that displaced 730,000 Rohingya from their homes to Bangladesh, according to Reuters. In 2021, the Myanmar military launched a coup and seized power.

“Since the coup, we have seen the Burmese military use many of the same tactics. Only now the military is targeting anyone in Burma it sees as opposing or undermining its repressive rule,” Blinken said.

The U.S. officials hope this determination will hold Myanmar generals accountable and also help prevent similar violence in the future, Reuters reported.

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said Blinken’s announcement hopes to convey to the victims and survivors that the U.S. understands the “gravity of these crimes.”

 “Our view is that shining a light on the crimes of Burma’s military will increase international pressure, make it harder for them to commit further abuses,” she said to Los Angeles Times.

Blinken also mentioned other instances of terrifying attacks elsewhere, including Ukraine

“Yes, we stand with the people of Ukraine,” he said. “And we must also stand with people who are suffering atrocities in other places.”

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