On Sunday, a United States official told CNN that the Joe Biden administration has formally determined that Myanmar’s military committed genocide and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya.
At the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC, United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken will publicly announce the determination that human rights groups have been advocating for years.
Reuters first reported on the administration’s recognition of the genocide.
Until now, the United States had stopped short of declaring the atrocities, including mass rape and killings, committed in 2017 against the Muslim minority Rohingya population a genocide. The violence forced nearly a million people to flee, and the United Nations recommended that top military officials face genocide charges.
Democratic Sen. Jeff Merkley, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement Sunday, “I applaud the Biden administration for finally recognizing the atrocities committed against the Rohingya as genocide. While this determination is long overdue, it is nevertheless a powerful and critically important step in holding this brutal regime to account.”
America, the Oregon Democrat, said, “must lead the world to make it clear that atrocities like these will never be allowed to be buried unnoticed, no matter where they occur.”
A United States State Department report released quietly in 2018 found that violence against the Rohingya in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine State was “extreme, large-scale, widespread, and seemingly geared toward terrorizing the population and driving out the Rohingya residents.”
The State Department has sanctioned several Myanmar military officials, including commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing, for their role in committing those human rights abuses.