The Rohingya crisis in Myanmar, where thousands of people have fled the killing in the country, is “genocide,” said Azeem Ibrahim, a senior fellow at the Center for Global Policy.
Ibrahim, in a column for CNN, said while the crisis has long been described an “ethnic cleansing,” the situation has turned into genocide.
The United Nation’s 1948 Genocide Convention defines genocide as acts that are committed with “intent to destroy” in the whole or part of a national, ethnical or racial or religious group by killing, causing bodily injury or mental harm, imposing measures to prevent births.
“Though the Rohingya situation has met most of the above criteria for being described as a genocide under international law for a number of years now, the label has been resisted until now because we think of genocide as one huge act of frenzied violence, like the machete insanity in Rwanda or the gas chambers of Nazi Germany,” he said.
Ibrahim says in Myanmar that Buddhist monks are preaching that the Rohingya are reincarnations of snakes and insects and killing them is a sort of “pest control.”
“The duty of any good Buddhist who wants to maintain the national and religious character of Myanmar is to prevent the Islamist takeover, and thus to help remove the threat posed by the ‘vermin,’” he says.
Some 600,000 Rohingya have been driven out of Myanmar because of the violence and persecution.
“More than half of an entire population has been removed from their ancestral lands in just eight weeks,” Ibrahim says.
“Just like we did in Rwanda, just like we did in the Balkans, we are once again seeing a genocide happen before our very eyes,” he added. “And we will do nothing about it. We will bury our heads in the sand, and when our children will ask us why we let this happen we will plead ignorance. Once the final act of killing starts, it is usually too late. For the Rohingya, the final act is in full swing. And still we are in denial about what is happening.”
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