SHAFAQNA – There is “strong evidence” of a genocide coordinated by the Myanmar government against the Rohingya Muslims, according to an assessment by Yale University Law School.
The Lowenstein Clinic spent eight months assessing evidence from Myanmar, including documents and testimony provided by Al Jazeera and the advocacy group Fortify Rights.
“Given the scale of the atrocities and the way that politicians talk about the Rohingya, we think it’s hard to avoid a conclusion that intent [to commit genocide] is present,” concluded the clinic.
Exclusive evidence obtained by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit and Fortify Rights reveals the government has been triggering communal violence for political gain by inciting anti-Muslim riots, using hate speech to stoke fear among the Myanmarese about Muslims, and offering money to hardline Buddhist groups who threw their support behind the leadership.
As the first fully contested general election in 25 years approaches on November 8, eyewitness and confidential documentary evidence reveals that the ruling, military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) has attempted to marginalize Muslims and target the Rohingya.
The investigation, presented in a new documentary, Genocide Agenda, consults legal and diplomatic experts on whether the government’s campaign amounts to systematic extermination.
The University of London’s Professor Penny Green, director of the International State Crime Initiative (ISCI) said: “President Thein Sein [of USDP] is prepared to use hate speech for the government’s own ends, and that is to marginalize, segregate, diminish the Muslim population inside Burma.
“It’s part of a genocidal process.”
An independent report by the ISCI concluded that riots in 2012, which saw conflicts between ethnic Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims erupt, were preplanned. The violence saw scores killed, and tens of thousands of people displaced after several thousand homes were burned.
It wasn’t communal violence,” said Green. “It was planned violence. Express buses were organized” to bring Rakhine Buddhists from outlying areas to take part in the aggression.
“Refreshments, meals were provided,” she said. “It had to be paid by somebody. All of this suggests that it was very carefully planned.”
Former United Nations Rapporteur on Myanmar Tomas Ojea Quintana, meanwhile, called for President Thein Sein of the USDP and the ministers of home affairs and immigration to be investigated for genocide.
Genocide Agenda presents evidence that Myanmar government agents were involved in sparking anti-Muslim riots.
An official military document shows the use of hate speech, claiming the Myanmarese are in danger of being “devoured” by Muslims.
The investigation also reveals how the government uses hired thugs to stir hatred.
A former member of Myanmar’s feared Military Intelligence service described how she witnessed agent provocateurs from the army provoke problems with Muslims.
“The army controlled these events from behind the scenes. They were not directly involved,” she said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “They paid money to people from outside.”
Among other findings is a confidential document warning of ‘nationwide communal riots’ that was deliberately sent to local townships to incite anti-Muslim fears.
Further evidence from sources within the Sangha, or monkhood, reveals that monks who challenged military rule in the 2007 Saffron Revolution were offered money to join anti-Muslim, pro-government groups.