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March 2022

Episode: KPN 31-3-2022

Kaladan Radio March 31, 2022 215 2


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Myanmar junta rejects US terming military operations as Rohingya genocide

Myanmar’s junta on Tuesday said it “categorically rejects” a United States declaration that its armed forces committed genocide against the mostly Muslim Rohingya minority during a military crackdown five years ago.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar following the 2017 crackdown, which is now the subject of a genocide case at the United Nations’ highest court in The Hague.

On Monday the United States officially declared violence against the Rohingya community amounted to genocide, saying there was clear evidence of an attempt to “destroy” the group.

Myanmar’s junta-appointed foreign ministry slammed the declaration as “far from reality” in a statement on Tuesday.

“Myanmar has never engaged in any genocidal actions and does not have any genocidal intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, racial or religious group or any other group.”

Myanmar’s junta-appointed foreign ministry

“Myanmar has never engaged in any genocidal actions and does not have any genocidal intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, racial or religious group or any other group,” it said.

Around 850,000 Rohingya are languishing in camps in neighbouring Bangladesh, recounting mass killings and rape during the crackdown.

Another 600,000 members of the community remain in Myanmar’s Rakhine state where they report widespread oppression.

Since ousting Aung San Suu Kyi’s government last year, the junta has doubled down on widespread perceptions that the Rohingya are interlopers from Bangladesh and continues to deny them citizenship, rights and access to services.

Junta leader Min Aung Hlaing — who was head of the armed forces during the 2017 crackdown — has dismissed the word Rohingya as “an imaginary term”.

‘CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY’

“Determined that members of the Burmese military committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Rohingya”.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken

Citing the killings of thousands and forcing close to a million to flee the country in 2016 and 2017, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had “determined that members of the Burmese military committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Rohingya”.

The US move did not come with new direct repercussions against the already heavily sanctioned Myanmar regime and dozens of members of its leadership.

But Blinken said it will support global efforts, including in the International Court of Justice, to bring cases of crimes against humanity against the regime.

A legal designation of genocide — defined by the UN as acts “committed with intent to destroy, in whole or part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” — could be followed by further sanctions and limits on aid, among other penalties against the already isolated military junta.

A case was opened against Myanmar for genocide at the ICJ in 2019, with then civilian leader Suu Kyi travelling to the Hague-based ICJ to defend the generals.

Little over a year later her government was ousted in a coup, which has been followed by a crackdown on dissent that a local monitoring group says has killed more than 1,600 people.

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