U.S. Holocaust Memorial Details 'Mounting Evidence' of Genocide Against Rohingya in Myanmar

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Rohingya Muslims who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh wait to receive aid at Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhiya, Bangladesh, November 15, 2017.
Rohingya Muslims who crossed over from Myanmar into Bangladesh wait to receive aid at Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhiya, Bangladesh, November 15, 2017.Credit: A.M. Ahad/AP

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has found "mounting evidence" of genocide against Rohingya Muslim civilians in Myanmar.

A new report, researched over the course of a year and based on over 200 in-person interviews, highlights the plight of this Muslim minority and documents the atrocities committed against them.

The Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide and the human rights organization Fortify Rights cowrote the report.

The Rohingya minority has suffered at the hands of the government of Myanmar for decades. Although they have lived in the country for generations, a 1982 law stripped them of their citizenship.

The recent violence began in October 2016, when Rohingya militants attacked state security officials, triggering a crackdown on the whole Rohingya population. Over the last year, nearly 700,000 Rohingya have fled from Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh and elsewhere to escape the violence, according to the report.

The evidence "demonstrates that Myanmar state security forces and civilian perpetrators committed crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing during the two waves of attacks" on the Rohingya population since the crisis began last year, the report states. "There is mounting evidence to suggest these acts represent a genocide of the Rohingya population."

The research details mass killings, brutality and rape. "They tried to kill us all," said one Rohingya man from Maungdaw Township, a Rohingya-majority township in Myanman's Rakhine state.

In September, the United Nations' top human rights official, Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, denounced Myanmar for conducting a "cruel military operation" against the Rohingya, branding it "a textbook example of ethnic cleansing."

The Holocaust Museum's Early Warning Project, a tool that identifies countries with a high risk of mass violence in hopes of preventing genocide, listed Myanmar third out of 162 countries in 2016. The report notes that Myanmar has been ranked in the top three since the project began.

Israel has been selling arms to Myanmar's military, despite the fact that the European Union and the United States have both banned arms sales to the country. In September, the matter went to Israel's High Court, which ruled on the weapons sales in secret due to a gag order issued on the case issued at the request of the state.

Over 300 American rabbis signed a petition calling on the Israeli government to stop weapons sales. Last week, Israel’s deputy consul general in New York told a number of rabbis concerned about the sales that Israel is justified in selling arms to Myanmar because "both sides are perpetrating war crimes.”