Analysis & Opinions - Foreign Policy

The World Knew Ahead of Time the Rohingya Were Facing Genocide

| Sep. 19, 2017

We've never known more about oncoming atrocities, but are still mostly helpless to stop them.

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding on the border between Burma (also known as Myanmar) and Bangladesh. Over the last three weeks, nearly 400,000 Burmese Rohingya have fled the country, driven out by the devastating violence unleashed upon them by the military. Their stories are horrific: parents slaughtered in front of their children, systematic rape and sexual torture, wholesale destruction of villages. Aid and advocacy groups describe the rate of population displacement as unprecedented and the human misery among the refugees as unparalleled.

The violence is shocking, but at the same time it is entirely unsurprising. For the past three years, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Early Warning Project has identified Burma as one of the top three countries most at risk for a mass atrocity. Other researchers argued as early as 2015 that a genocidal campaign was already underway. With such clear indications that a crisis was coming, why did the world fail to protect the Rohingya?

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For Academic Citation: Cronin-Furman, Kate.“The World Knew Ahead of Time the Rohingya Were Facing Genocide.” Foreign Policy, September 19, 2017.

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