myanmar: Rohingya: US to declare Myanmar’s military committed genocide – Times of India


WASHINGTON: Five years after Myanmar’s military began a killing spree against ethnic Rohingya, driving nearly 1 million people from their country, the United States has concluded that the widespread campaign of rape, crucifixions, and drownings and burnings of families and children amounted to genocide.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to announce the determination — a legal designation for crimes that American investigators documented in 2018 — at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington on Monday. It almost certainly will trigger additional economic sanctions, limits on aid and other penalties against Myanmar’s military junta, the Tatmadaw.
The Tatmadaw overthrew Myanmar’s civilian government and its nascent democratic efforts, led by Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, in February 2021. In one of its first acts in office, the Biden administration declared that the military takeover amounted to a coup.
But an internal debate that began during the Trump administration had, until now, delayed a decision on whether the State Department should formally accuse Myanmar of committing genocide against the Rohingya, a minority ethnic group that is largely Muslim.
A senior State Department official confirmed the genocide determination Sunday, after it was reported by Reuters.
“This is a recognition of the atrocities that have occurred and of the ways in which those atrocities are manifesting themselves even today,” Anurima Bhargava, former chair of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a bipartisan panel that makes policy recommendations to the federal government, said Sunday.
She said that “those who committed this genocide continue to be in power.”
The decision also comes as the Biden administration grapples with whether President Vladimir Putin of Russia has committed war crimes for his military’s indiscriminate and deadly attacks in Ukraine, including against a maternity hospital and a theater that was sheltering children in the southeastern city of Mariupol.
“Given what’s happening in the world, where we’re seeing what can happen if there’s power that goes unchecked, it’s a really critical time for this kind of determination to be made,” Bhargava said. “Certainly, we would have wanted something earlier.”

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