Using the word Genocide is important.
Politicians and world leaders are careful saying it, preferring to use ‘ethnic cleansing’ instead. Why? Because it is a legally specific and a politically charged word that requires action by the U.N. Once you say ‘Genocide’, it’s an accusation of human rights violations and the world community is responsible for ending it.
Burma Task Force was the 1st Human Rights org. working on the Rohingya to call what was happening as genocide. We based this on data available and analyzing it in the context of the definition of genocide.
Some Rohingya groups didn’t like it, Amnesty International cancelled an event by us. They called it an exaggeration. But Burma Task Force didn’t relent.
Now, the US Congress recognizes it, but IT IS IMPORTANT that the State Department also declares it as genocide.
1. Killing members of the group.
Many U.N. agencies, independent experts, and human rights organizations have reported the Myanmar Army, NaSaKa, and Myanmar Police Force have used lethal violence against Rohingya in Rakhine State. Witnesses have reported state forces joining in on local killings and massacres of Rohingya rather than intervening to protect them.
2. Causing serious bodily or mental harm.
Rohingya women and girls are constantly subjected to rape by the Tatmadaw, NaSaKa, and the Myanmar Police Force. Rape is used as a weapon to control and demean an entire village, as it often takes place inside mosques or in front of children, causing life-long trauma. Torture is also used as a means to erase Rohingya identity. The Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention reported the NaSaKa beat and tortured Rohingya until they agreed to register as Bengali.
3. Deliberately inflicting conditions of life calculated to bring about the group’s physical destruction in whole or in part.
Besides being displaced from their homes, Rohingya are denied medical care, sanitation, food, and paid labor opportunities. Journalists and human rights organizations have described the IDP camps where 140,000 Rohingyas reside as ‘unlivable ghettos’. Myanmar security forces have prevented Rohingya from leaving the IDP camps to seek jobs, food, or medical assistance.
4. Imposing measures intended to prevent births.
In 1993 and 2005, The Border Region Immigration Control Headquarters and the Township Peace and Development Council of Maungdaw issued population control policies that state the Rohingya population is reproducing faster than “international standards” of population increase. The authorities offered no evidence to support these claims. In order to get married, Rohingya must agree to have no more than two children. Anyone who has more than two children are subject to prison sentences of up to ten years.