Recognizing Warning Signs on the Path to Genocide

April 1, 2022

Jeremy Barker, Director of RFI’s Middle East Action Team, this week authored a piece for Providence Magazine titled, “Recognizing Warning Signs on the Path to Genocide.” In it, he addresses Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent determination that “members of the Burmese military committed acts of genocide and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya community in Burma.” 

Barker discusses the context of these incidences of mass violence in Burma, as well as the connection between violations of religious freedom and genocidal violence. He writes: “These attacks did not occur in a vacuum but emerged within the particular religious, social, and political landscape of Burma.” He continues, “This combination of social hostility and government repression is the breeding ground for religion-related violence of the worst kinds.”

As Barker explains, “In nearly every case, violations of religious freedom have been a significant factor in creating the conditions that marked the ‘path to genocide,’ as Secretary Blinken described.” He argues, “For those looking to prevent the next spiral into genocidal violence, it is vital to pay close attention to protecting religious freedom.” “When that right is routinely violated,” Barker concludes, “it is a warning sign that must not be ignored.”

Read the full article: Recognizing Warning Signs on the Path to Genocide.