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Myanmar's Official Rohingya Genocidal INTENT

By Dr. Maung Zarni
February 21, 2014

Matt Smith, formerly Human Rights Watch researcher and author of the HRW report on the Rohingya ethnic cleansing in June and Oct 2012, -- - will be presenting the findings of his independent investigation of the leaked official Myanmar documents 

These leaked documents are said to have established the state's policy , in writing, - at both local and national levels - of discrimination, persecution, abuse and otherwise destruction of the ROHINGYA as a group, a community and a people in Western Burma. 

For time, date and venue - see the attached PDF. 

The government's official estimate puts the number of Myanmar's Rohingya at about 1.33 million. Only 40,000 hold citizenship or any legal documentation. 

Out of the 5 genocidal acts spelled out clearly in the Article 6, Rome Statute (july 2002 and 1948 Geneva Convention on the Crimes of Genocide), successive Burmese military governments since in 1970's have, verifiably, guilty of 4. 

The predominantly Buddhist society at large - the one that taught me the virtues of Metta (Buddhist term for 'universal loving kindness') is secondarily murderous towards the Rohingya through their popularly genocidal speeches, ideas, attitudes etc. 

I have co-authored a baseline study of the Rohingya persecution based on the findings from a 3-full year empirical research on this issue, interviews with the Rohingya, communications with ex-Burmese military officers including junior generals, religious leaders, human rights researchers, etc since 2011. 

The said study (27,000-words) will be published in the forthcoming issue of the Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal (Spring 2014), the University of Washington Law School - see

For those of us who have systematically studied the Rohingya persecution over at least 3 and a half decades, the above-mentioned leaked official documents only reinforce and lend further credibility to our definitive conclusion. 

The question is NOT whether Myanmar is committing a genocide against the Rohingya, but rather why has the international community, so-called, opted to NOT call the plight of the 1.33 million Rohingya by its proper name: genocide or more accurately, a slow-burning genocide. 

If you think the terms genocide or the slow-burning genocide are nothing but an activist spin to get the world's attention just have a look at the objective facts on the ground, which result from the official state policies - that is, THE INTENT: 


in the two largest pockets of Rohingya in the country - Buthidaung and Maung Daw, the doctor patient ratios are estimated to be: 76, 000: 1 (doc) and 83,000: 1 (doc) (national and local/provincial ratios are about 375:1 and 550:1 for non-Rohingya 

1. B

The Rohingya are NOT allowed to train in medical field, or any other professional disciplines.

2. 60,000 Rohingya children are not registered - in direct violation of the Right of the Child to have a nationality at birth. 

3. infant mortality rate and the mortality rate among children below 5 among the Rohingya children are also twice or thrice national average. 

4. over 80-90% of the Rohingya adults are illiterate in a country which won a UN-award for the eradication of illiteracy among adults. They are by and large denied access to schooling. 

5. over 140,000 are placed in semi-concentration camps where extraction of forced labor is rampant, sexual violence, summary execution and extortion are norms. 

6. out of a myriad of Burma's ethnic groups, the state has developed and attempted to enforced ethnic population control as a matter of policy, ONLY AMONG the Rohingya - both through severe marriage restrictions and in many cases forced sterilization 

7. law enforcement agencies throughout the Rohingya regions of Western Burma enjoy TOTAL AND BLANKET IMMUNITY from whatever persecutorial acts the former may engage in - rape, gang-rape, execution, abduction, daily abuses, threats, intimidations, etc - 24/7 and year round. 

8. the Rohingya who are NOT put in the semi-concentration camps have been living in a total of 11 security grids with heavily armed guarded posts, and their physical movements even between one community to the other are closely monitored, controlled and forbidden at the pleasure of both central and local state authorities. 

9. Myanmar governments regularly deny any wrong doings while covering up its mass atrocities against the Rohingya and disposes countless number of dead bodies of the murdered or slaughtered Rohingya - male, female, children and elderly 

10. empirically, Myanmar governments, in close collaboration of the local Nazi-inspired segments of the Rakhine Buddhists and backed by the popularly genocidal Buddhist public, have long attempted to deny, restrict or otherwise make it difficult for the delivery of any humanitarian aid, including basic survival food, to the Rohingya. 

11. these Myanmar governments are found to be engaged in a pattern of systematic and verifiable attempts aimed at the destruction of the social and economic foundations of the Rohingya community at large over the past nearly 40 years. 

12. the destruction of the Rohingya as a group, in whole or in part, began with Burma/Myanmar government's deliberate erasure/destruction of their identity, both self-referential and formerly officially recognized, as ROHINGYA - as early as 1982. (through the Rakhine-nationalist-inspired Citizenship Act of 1982 enacted under General Ne Win's one-man dictatorial rule - 1962-88). 

12. Talking about them as simply 'citizenship-less' or 'stateless-people' is to look at the symptom of the state-sponsored slow-burning genocide which began in the late 1970's with the first state-directed large scale wave of repression of the Rohingya. 

13. No UN agencies, no foreign power, 'Eastern' or 'Western', no multilateral organizations, no reputable academics or lawyers are calling the Rohingya genocide a genocide - because, as Human Rights Watch's 12-page report in 1993, put it - and I am paraphrasing it - there is no strategic gains or commercial benefits from ending the Rohingya's suffering! 

Successive waves of ground staff of international and UN agencies, especially those with even the rudimentary understanding of the Genocide Convention - KNOW first hand this: what they have witnessed about the plight of the Rohingya most definitely amounts to a GENOCIDE. However, as a matter of policy, UN gags its staff, both local and international. 

The United Nations agencies around the world are well-documented to trade their silence in exchange for access to the country - access to do what? put a band-aid in a cancerously genocidal context??? 

Now thanks to FortifyRights and its founder Matt Smith, the world will see first hand the documentary evidence behind the Rohingya genocide.

The world, especially the governing global institutions, must bear the responsibility to protect the 1.33 million Rohingya when Myanmar itself is the main genocidal perpetrator. 

Further, the new documentary evidence should reshape or re-shape significantly the argument about the Rohingya - from the simply 'religious' or 'sectarian' to the GOVERNMENT(s) of Burma or that the violence against the Rohingya is an unfortunate but 'not unnatural part of any democratic opening of formerly closed societies - the argument that has been put into circulation by individuals, governments and organizations (for instance, the International Crisis Group, Indonesia, etc. ) that want to cozy up to the Burmese regime which is neither democratic nor transitional - in any meaningful sense of the words. 

That means the partnering foreign governments and businesses, UN agencies, international financial institutions can be considered, in theory and practice, culpable - BOTH the Obama Admin and David Cameron government, for instance and complicit in the genocide of the Rohingya. 

Never again! will remain a cheap slogan as long as the international community, especially those who run global governing institutions, look the other way when ending the genocidal plight of the Rohingya is considered to have no strategic or commercial value.

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