Boys stand among debris after fire destroyed shelters at a camp for internally displaced Rohingya Muslims in the western Rakhine State near Sittwe. Credit: Reuters
The government of Burma and its confederates is committing the crime of genocide and crimes against humanity. That is a fact. Indeed, published reports about a massive cover-up to hide the crimes from the world’s view reveal an utter disregard for the rule of law or common humanity. Burma must be marked as a “criminal state” and its leaders and institutions must be punished by the world. There is no need for the International Criminal Court to rule on whether the crime of genocide is being carried out on a daily basis. The evidence is clear with the camps holding Rohingya men, women and children, the rapes of Rohingya women and destruction of Rohingya institutions and cultural artifacts along with the attacks and killings of thousands by Buddhist militias and Burmese military.
There are no provisions in the International Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948) specifically focused on states’ governments committing the crime of genocide. Oddly, of the 184 alleged incidents of genocide since 1945, the overwhelming criminal acts against indigenous peoples and states’ governments and their supporters have committed crimes against other vulnerable peoples. None of these states have been cited, identified as suspects or brought to trial for committing what is widely considered to be the most horrific crime.
Burma is a “criminal state” and its government must be directly punished politically, militarily, economically and morally. Under the guise of “war” states such as Burma engage in genocide and they must be stopped. It is not reasonable to argue that international human rights law will serve to prevent and punish their crime. Shaming a state is utterly meaningless and that is really all human rights conventions can do. The UN Security Council can adopt a resolution contemning Burma, but that is insufficient. Burma’s military, government and political leaders must be specifically targeted, brought to trial and punished.
Unrealistic! I hear you say? If this is considered unrealistic then international rule of law is meaningless and only irrational cultural genocide, and all of the other crimes associated with genocide must serve as ancient artifacts of humane and moral sensibilities. I think this way of think is unacceptable. When a crime against humanity is committed no matter who initiates and carries out the act the perpetrator—whether an individual, mob, corporation, government, religious order or organized gang—must be apprehended, prosecuted, tried and if guilty punished or forced to reconcile with the offended peoples.
The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.access here