While Myanmar prepares for internationally backed national election next both, a new study has claimed that Rohingya Muslim community is facing state-sponsored genocide. While on one hand, US’ decision to rollback economic sanctions brings good news to the country; on the other hand, more than a million Burmese people are on the verge of being completely exterminated, according to a TIME report.
The report says that the Rohingya Muslim community of the military-dominated Southeast Asian nation, has been systematically persecuted and expunged from the national narrative — often at the behest of powerful extremist groups from the country’s majority Buddhist population and even government authorities, according to a damning new study by the International State Crime Initiative (ISCI) at the Queen Mary University of London.
The report which concludes, “The Rohingya face the final stages of genocide,” has used genocide expert Daniel Feierstein’s framework of the six stages of genocide, outlined in his 2014 book Genocide as Social Practice to study the situation in Myanmar. After interviewing stakeholders on both sides of what it describes as ‘ethnic cleansing’, as well as media reports and leaked government documents, the report enumerates how the Rohingya have undergone the first four stages — stigmatisation and dehumanization, harassment, violence and terror, isolation and segregation, systematic weakening — and are on the verge of “mass annihilation.” The sixth stage, which involves the “removal of the victim group from collective history,” is already under way in many respects, the report says.
Removed from Burma’s 135 officially recognised ethnicities in 1982, the Rohingya have faced discrimination and disenfranchisement for decades, although never to the extent they currently face. The government’s official position is that the Rohingya are interlopers from neighboring Bangladesh, despite many having lived in the country for generations, and it refuses to even acknowledge their collective name, preferring the loaded term “Bengali.” The report documents a systematic deterioration of the Rohingya’s situation since communal violence broke out in June 2012 in Burma’s Rakhine (formerly Arakan) state.
To read the full TIME report, click here.