Contact: Roland Watson, roland@dictatorwatch.org


November 24, 2016

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Genocide is being perpetrated in Burma, against the Rohingya ethnic group. Other crimes against humanity are also being perpetrated, against other ethnic nationalities who live in the country's active war zones.

In response to these crises, the United Nations Security Council must take action. An Emergency Meeting should be called. The world must intervene to stop the persecution.

The culprit for all of these crimes is the nation's military dictatorship, as implemented through the Burma Army, the police, other security organs, and affiliated organizations. The regime's ideological foundation is a racist/ultranationalist belief that the Burman ethnic group is superior to all of the country's other peoples, and that it should dominate - if need be by force. For the genocide, the dictatorship has both incited the widespread attitude that the Rohingya people should be exterminated, and led the way in attacking their communities. The other ethnic nationalities in turn have been attacked as part of regime offensives into their homelands.

The crime of genocide is covered by an International Convention. Crimes against humanity are covered under the Rome Statute (genocide is included here as well). They are prosecuted in international tribunals (Yugoslavia, Rwanda) and the International Criminal Court.

The genocide convention extends the crime to individuals who bear complicity. Similarly, the Rome Statute extends criminal responsibility to an individual who "In any other way contributes to the commission or the attempted commission of such a crime by a group of persons acting with a common purpose."

Member states of the ICC have the power to refer to the Court situations where there is evidence that genocide and other crimes against humanity are being perpetrated. The ICC then appoints a Prosecutor, who decides if the evidence warrants a formal investigation, out of which indictments, trial, and punishment may follow.

Legal experts at Queen Mary University of London's International State Crime Initiative have completed their own investigation for Burma and concluded that the Rohingya are being subjected to genocide, and that State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi has entrenched their persecution. She has refused to speak about the genocide, and instead uses "the 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."

In the other ethnic nationality areas, where the Burma Army is acting as an invading, conquering force, she has also refused to mention, much less condemn, the Army's atrocities. Instead, she is demanding that the ethnic pro-democracy forces that defend the people in these areas stop their defense and instead sign the so-called Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement, which is in fact a fake ceasefire since it in no way limits the Army's aggression.

Suu Kyi's actions have empowered the military dictatorship and its racist followers. For all intents and purposes she has granted them immunity. She is complicit - intentionally complicit - in their crimes. She must be held responsible. Members of the ICC should be lobbied to initiate an investigation. As part of this, the Burma Army, starting with its leading generals, as well as the leaders of other parties which are involved in the crimes (Buddhist monks, Rakhine groups), must be investigated - and indicted - as well.