The Rohingya people are some of the most persecuted people. The Myanmar government is terrorizing them leading masses to seek exit from their country. While this may look like genocide the U.N. has labeled it as ethnic cleansing. Although the U.N. has different definitions for genocide and ethnic cleansing they should recognize ethnic cleansing under the umbrella term of genocide. The United Nations definition of genocide came about after World War Two because of the atrocities the Nazis committed against the Jews. They came about their definition in a convention called the Genocide Convention. Genocide involves a national, ethnical, racial or religious group(Abdelkader, Engy. Are Myanmar’s Rohingya Facing Genocide?) and the intention to destroy them either fully or partially.
Destroying includes killing, causing serious harm either mentally or physically, trying to physically destroy them by making their living conditions unliveable, preventing reproduction, and taking children out of the group into another group. The term ethnic cleansing doesn’t have an official legal definition. It includes, but is not limited to torture, gender-based violence, forced displacement, destruction of property and murder.(Abdelkader, Engy) The Rohingyas in Myanmar face beheading, murder, and rape from the Myanmar government who had been a party to the treaty(Abdelkader, Engy) which swore to prevent genocide and punish those (military authorities, government officials, individuals) who commit it.(Abdelkader, Engy) The reason why the U.N. has not labeled this as genocide because it will only be considered genocide if the government has the legal intent[ ] to destroy or exterminate the Rohingyas.
The Myanmarian government is responsible for the for whatever occurs inside the state’s borders, which includes raping women, murdering children, beheading men and torching villages and are legally responsible under international law from the genocide convention. Rohingyas are leaving their homes in Myanmar by the masses, because of the Discrimination and unequal treatment (Ullah, A. K. M. Ahsan. Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar: Seeking Justice for the ?Stateless.’ page 3) With numbers in the fifty millions showing their suffering, the cause of this discrimination stems from their difference in ethnicity from the rest of the Myanmarian groups. Rohingyas are not considered citizens, rather as resident foreigners.(Ullah 286) for they are religiously and ethnically different from the rest of the ethnic groups in Myanmar. (Ullah 286) They are also excluded from the countries official ethnic groups. These discriminations show the starting seeds of a genocide because it is against an ethnic and religious group and while the Myanmarian’s will call it ethnic cleansing rendering a people stateless will cause their destruction; if not fully than partially which is under the legal definition of genocide.
While the Myanmar government denies the Rohingyas citizenship, under Myanmar law the Rohingyas should have had citizenship or been able to claim it. Persons who were already citizens at the time the law came into force would continue to be so(Ullah 286) and any of the Associate or Naturalized citizenship holders would be able to claim citizenship. So the Rohingya people who had been living in Myanmar prior to independence should have been able to claim citizenship and those who applied for citizenship prior to 1948 should have had received citizenship. Prior to independence in 1948 General Aung San referred to the Rohingyas as an indigenous people(Ullah 287) and assured full rights and privileges(Ullah 287) to them. Without citizenship, Rohingyas don’t have legal status, rights, (political) participation, and belonging(Ullah 287) in their homeland, which can lead to horrible abuses such as restrictions on their freedom of movement, discriminatory on access to education, forced labor, and arbitrary confiscation of property.(Ullah 287)
In 1962 the ruling government dismantled Rohingya social and political organizations(Ullah 287) which took the Rohingyas out of government so they couldn’t even represent themselves. They were being excluded as the government registered citizens in 1977 resulting in 200,000 Rohingyas being forced to leave and they did not have an official voice against these atrocities. This forced displacement of the Rohingyas, while falling under the term of ethnic cleansing also can be considered on the broader scale as genocide, for the displacement of a people is the start point of destroying them. If there is no cohesive group then the ethnicity, religion, or nationality is destroyed through separation. The Rohingyas who stayed in their homeland face many cases of abuse. While nationalist slogans include Burma for the Burmans(Ullah 289) the Monks added that to be Burman is to be Buddhist (Ullah 289) causing an isolation for the Rohingyas who are Muslim. Following this in 1978 the ruling government consisting of the military organized
Ethnic Cleansing Or Genocide. (2019, Nov 26).
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