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Genocide, Crimes Against Humanity and Ethnic Cleansing of Rohingya in Burma

“The day will come when those responsible for these appalling acts will have to answer for them.”

Antony J. Blinken

The United States remains committed to seeking accountability for those responsible for the genocide, crimes against humanity, and growing number of atrocities committed across Burma as we stand with and pursue justice for survivors and victims. We also support the people of Burma in their desire to pursue a path to democracy for their country. 

On March 21, 2022, following a rigorous factual and legal analysis, the Secretary determined that members of the Burmese military committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Rohingya. Since the Holocaust, the United States has concluded only seven other times that genocide was committed. This determination marks the eighth. 

Over the course of 2016 and 2017, violence across northern Rakhine State was extreme, large-scale, and widespread. The scope and scale of the military’s operations indicate they were well-planned and coordinated.  

This is one of the many conclusions of a report authored by the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research (INR) based on a Bureau of Democracy Human Rights and Labor (DRL) funded and implemented survey of 1,024 Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh in spring 2018. The conclusions reflect the work of a team of experts from DRL, INR, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), and civil society actors to document the experience of Rohingya who fled violence in northern Rakhine State. 

The vast majority of interviewees reported experiencing or directly witnessing extreme violence and the destruction of their homes. They identified the Burmese military as a perpetrator in most cases. 

While this report focuses on atrocities against Rohingya, we also know that Burma’s military has committed atrocities and other abuses against members of other ethnic and religious minority groups, as well as pro-democracy activists, for decades, as highlighted in a long history of U.S. human rights reports on Burma

Shining a light on these atrocities and abuses is critical to ending the decades of impunity that has brought Burma to the crisis it is in today. 

Related Information

  • Learn how the United States is working to prevent and respond to atrocities in Burma in the State Department’s 2022 Report to Congress Pursuant to Section 5 of the Elie Wiesel Genocide and Atrocities Prevention Act of 2018.
  • The United States is providing the UN’s Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) with almost $1 million in additional funding for its mission to collect, consolidate, preserve, and analyze evidence of the most serious international crimes in Burma. 
  • The United States has supported The Gambia, which has brought a case against Burma regarding these atrocities before the International Court of Justice. 
  • On March 25, 2022, the United States and our allies imposed additional sanctions on five Burmese individuals and five entities in response to the military regime’s brutal crackdown against the people of Burma. More than 1,700 people – including women, children and aid workers – have been killed since the February 2021 military coup. Read the Secretary’s statement announcing the sanctions

U.S. Department of State

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