Holocaust Researchers Warn Against Impending Genocide in Burma

The treatment of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Burma could be the prelude to genocide, say researchers from the U.S. Holocaust Museum.

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Rohingya men and their docked fishing boats outside an internment camp in Burma.
Rohingya men and their docked fishing boats outside an internment camp in Burma.Credit: Reuters

Conditions in Burma are ripe for genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum states in a new report.

Staffers from the Washington museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide visited the south-east Asian nation in March to investigate the conditions in which the Rohingya live and the threats facing them.

According to their testimony, the Rohingya are "the target of rampant hate speech, the denial of citizenship, and restrictions on the freedom of movement.

"These and a host of other human rights violations have put this population at grave risk for additional mass atrocities and even genocide."

The team visited internment camps holding Rohingya who have been violently displaced from their homes and met with Rohingya living in cordoned-off ghettos, separated from their Buddhist neighbors.

"We saw firsthand the Rohingya’s physical segregation, which has resulted in a modern form of apartheid, and the devastating impact that official policies of persecution are having on them," the report states.

"When asked what the Burmese government wants to do with them, one Rohingya advocate replied, 'They want us all to go away.'”

The team stated that it left Burma "deeply concerned that so many preconditions for genocide are already in place. But there is still an opportunity to prevent this devastating outcome."

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