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Popular perception of a genocide is about dramatic spikes of mass killings as in Cambodia of Khmer Rouge days (1975-79) or 1994 Rwanda. But a genocide is not simply about media-genic scenes of mass killings. The single most influential – and one and only – universally accepted legal definition of a genocide as spelled out by the Geneva Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (January 1948) and Article 6 of the Rome Statute (July 2002) – specify 4 other genocidal acts: “causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group”, besides “killing members of the group”, with the intent to destroy an ethnical or national group, in whole or in part.
While there may be no Hitler like genocidal demagogues in Myanmar, over the past 36 years there is a consistent and verifiable pattern of Myanmar’s discrimination and persecution of Rohingya which have resulted spikes of organized and well-structured violence, led to untold number of Rohingya deaths, destroyed Rohingya communities, butchered the group’s identity, and ultimately rendered life for Rohingya into such a living hell that thousands and thousands of Rohingya families have been choosing risks of death and other high risks fleeing the country on foot or by boats.
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