Paul Marshall, Director of RFI’s South and Southeast Asia Action Team, was recently interviewed on EWTN News Nightly to discuss Burma’s violent persecution of Rohingya Muslims, and the related U.S. declaration of genocide earlier this week.
The military in Burma (also known as Myanmar) took over the government in a coup in 2021. They have been accused of torturing, raping, and killing Rohingyas on a mass-scale for the last several years (see RFI’s 2018 report, “The Rohingya Crisis: The Shameful Global Response to Genocide and the Assault on Religious Freedom” for further details). Secretary Blinken in a statement on Monday declared that a genocide has been committed against Burma’s Rohingya population, a determination he made based on the State Department’s factual assessment and legal analysis of extensive evidence and reports documenting these horrific accusations.
In the course of the interview, Marshall discussed what the State Department’s designation of genocide means and its possible implications for Burma’s government: “I think one of the things Secretary Blinken’s designation will call attention to is what’s going on there. Our attention is rightfully on Ukraine, where there are now even more refugees, but it’s important not to forget what else is going on around the world and the people suffering there. It calls due attention to Myanmar, and the government there.”
Marshall also spoke of what he would like to see happen following the declaration:
I think firstly we need to name and target the assets and also put restrictions on the members of the military junta who are controlling the country, [and] also see about bringing sanctions against them for war crimes of which there are plenty in that country. I would like to see this giving impetus to the Association of Southeast Asian Countries to collectively lean on Myanmar to make changes to its policies both in regard to the Rohingya and to the other people it is repressing. It should become a source of [widespread] attention in Southeast Asia.