US Holocaust Memorial Museum Highlights ‘Mounting Evidence of Genocide’ of Rohingya Muslims in Burma
The official museum commemorating the Nazi Holocaust in the United States has issued a report drawing attention to “mounting evidence of genocide” against the Muslim Rohingya people in Burma — the southeastern Asian country also known as Myanmar.
The report, which documents government atrocities in the Rakhine area along the country’s western coast, was prepared by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) and Fortify Rights, a human rights advocacy group focused on Asia.
Cameron Hudson, director of the USHMM’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide, told The Algemeiner that international indifference during the Holocaust was a key reason for highlighting the plight of the Rohingya now.
“The US Holocaust Memorial Museum was envisioned as a living memorial, one that would do for people being targeted for mass atrocities and genocide today what was not done for the Jews of Europe in the 1930s and 1940s,” Hudson said on Thursday. “Just as the Holocaust was preventable, we can save lives in Burma today.”
Hudson added that the initiative “is a crucial part of our mission.”
“As our founding chairman Elie Wiesel said, ‘A memorial unresponsive to the future would violate the memory of the past,'” he noted.
While state repression of the Rohingya in Burma goes back to the 1960s, the violence has escalated dramatically over the last year, following attacks by a small Rohingya armed group on Burmese army outposts. More than half of the country’s one million Rohingya have fled the country for refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh.
Survivors of the atrocities interviewed for the USHMM report spoke of security forces opening fire on men, women and children at close range, as well as numerous rapes and beheadings.
On Wednesday, the House Foreign Affairs Committee passed a resolution condemning the “ethnic cleansing” of the Rohingya.
“In recent months, we’ve heard horrific stories of young Rohingya mothers torn from their burning homes, drowned children, and mass executions,” committee chairman Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) said in a statement. “Many consider the Rohingya the most persecuted minority in the world. This resolution calls for an end to all violence in Burma, and for the military and government to allow refugees to return home.”