Myanmar government legitimising genocide

Aung Suu Kyi’s government is legitimising genocide in Myanmar and it has abetted the persecution of the Rohingya minority, a London think tank has accused.

Citing results from months of fieldwork in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, researchers at Queen Mary University of London said Myanmar state’s policies are “genocidal”. The research exposed evidence of mass killings, forced labour, torture, sexual violence, arbitrary detention, institutional discrimination, and the destruction of communities, the paper published by the International State Crime Initiative at QMUL said.

“The election of Anng Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy in 2015 has brought no respite for the Rohingya. In October this year a new reign of terror by the Myanmar state emerged and continues to escalate. We continue to see widespread killings, arbitrary detention, mass rape, collective punishment, arson, and village clearances,” Penny Green, Professor of International Law at QMUL and Director of ISCI said.

On-the-ground reports reveal a consistent picture of a trapped, terrified, and desperate community, the paper says. They said reports are consistent with historical practices of state repression and violence in the region, echoing the brutal and indiscriminate crackdowns of 1977-8 and 1991-2 when hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled to Bangladesh.

State-sponsored denial of access to health care, livelihood, food, and civic life worsen the plight of the Rohinguya minorities, according to the study.

“Despite the fact that this is the most significant test of Suu Kyi’s leadership, the country’s de-facto leader has remained remarkably indifferent. Neither Suu Kyi nor her President Htin Kyaw have visited Rakhine state during the current crisis,” Professor Green said.

“Suu Kyi says very little, other than to repeat the line that investigations will be conducted fairly and according to the rule of law. Her claim that ‘we have not tried to hide anything on Rakhine’ is utterly disingenuous. Her statements run counter to reports that we, and our colleagues in the human rights community, are receiving from the Rakhine state and can only be interpreted as denial – a familiar and integral strategy deployed by criminal states to deflect blame.”

The Myanmar government has adopted “the military dictatorship-era tactics of blanket denial, an absolute ban on international observation, severe limitations on humanitarian access within the region, the muzzling of the press, and the ‘blacklisting’ and deportation of human rights activists,” said Thomas MacManus, lawyer and ISCI researcher.

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