Washington DC: Violent repression of the largely Muslim Rohingya population in Myanmar amounts to genocide, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Monday, a declaration intended to both generate international pressure and lay the groundwork for potential legal action.
Authorities made the determination based on confirmed accounts of mass atrocities on civilians by Myanmar’s military in a widespread and systematic campaign against the ethnic minority, Blinken said in a speech at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
It is the eighth time since the Holocaust that the U.S. has concluded a genocide has occurred. The secretary of state noted the importance of calling attention to inhumanity even as horrific attacks occur elsewhere in the world, including Ukraine.
The government of Myanmar, also known as Burma, is already under multiple layers of U.S. sanctions since a military coup ousted the democratically elected government in February 2021. Thousands of civilians throughout the country have been killed and imprisoned as part of the ongoing repression of anyone opposed to the ruling junta.