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U.S. to declare genocide in Myanmar

Rohingya women and children who left a refugee camp in Bangladesh sit by a fire on a beach in Indonesia in June 2021. Associated Press/Photo by Zik Maulana, file

U.S. to declare genocide in Myanmar

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will make the long-anticipated declaration of genocide in Myanmar on Monday at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. The museum features an exhibit on the Rohingya minority, who faced a deadly military operation that sent about 730,000 refugees into neighboring Bangladesh. The military now controls Myanmar, also known as Burma, after a coup last year.

Why the decision? Blinken had pledged to review the violence when he took office a little over a year ago. The previous administration compiled evidence of genocide but did not make a declaration. The move could potentially heighten international pressure to bring the ruling junta to justice. Blinken will also offer $1 million worth of additional funding to the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, a United Nations body that gathers evidence for potential future prosecutions. The junta has killed more than 1,600 people and detained nearly 10,000 others since its coup began in February 2021.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archive, read my report on mission efforts to help the fleeing Rohingya Muslims.

Onize Ohikere

Onize is WORLD’s Africa reporter and deputy global desk chief. She is a World Journalism Institute graduate and earned a journalism degree from Minnesota State University–Moorhead. Onize resides in Abuja, Nigeria.


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