The Ongoing Genocidal Crisis of the Rohingya Minority in Myanmar

AuthorJohn P. J. Dussich
Published date01 July 2018
Date01 July 2018
Subject MatterArticles
The Ongoing Genocidal
Crisis of the Rohingya
Minority in Myanmar
John P. J. Dussich1
The serious plight of the Rohingya ethnic group’s extreme victimization in Myanmar
has finally emerged on the international stage. They are mostly a stateless
Muslim minority from the state of Rakhine which, over recent decades,
have been abused by severe and repeated multiple human rights violations.
There are now approximately 850,000 displaced Rohingya refugees mostly in
Bangladesh and surrounding countries with thousands more waiting in peril
between Myanmar and Bangladesh. The saga of the Rohingya dilemma has been
fraught with complex ethno-religious conflicts between Buddhist, Muslim and
Hindu factions exacerbated by the scale of people involved, rapidity of events,
recency of occurrences, abject poverty, racial hatred, linguistic differences,
confused ancestral rights, severe humanitarian violations, genocidal policies,
surrounded by nations themselves struggling with few resources. The present-
day conflicted leadership in Myanmar between the military and the democratically
elected leader of her government, Aung San Suu Kyi, has been severely criticized
for their brutal continued ethnic cleansing.
Rohingya, Myanmar, Bangladesh, ethnic cleansing, genocide, Muslim, Buddhist,
human rights, refugees, Aung San Suu Kyi
A genocide begins with the killing of one man—not for what he has done, but because
of who he is. A campaign of ‘ethnic cleansing’ begins with one neighbour turning on
another. Poverty begins when even one child is denied his or her fundamental right to
education. What begins with the failure to uphold the dignity of one life, all too often
ends with a calamity for entire nations.
—Kofi Annan, Nobel lecture (2001)
Journal of Victimology
and Victim Justice
1(1) 4–24
2018 National Law
University Delhi
SAGE Publications
DOI: 10.1177/2516606918764998
California State University, Fresno, California, USA.
Corresponding author:
John P. J. Dussich, 341 Cedar Hill Drive, Birmingham, Alabama, USA 35242.
Dussich 5
As has been the case with the analysis of most severe ethnic conflicts, the sources
of information bias vary according to the authors’ organizational allegiance,
political orientations, nationality, religion, culture and language. In the search for
verifiable truths, it is difficult to gather and analyse empirical evidence of this
nature. Although it is obvious that the findings of this article are vulnerable to
variations in interpretation, a serious attempt was made at being honest and
avoiding exaggerations using only reliable sources such as from reputable non-
profit organizations, scholarly publications and trustworthy media. To further
confound the search for truth, there is an almost overwhelming degree of
complexity involved in this particular dilemma. Also, noted, especially with
the reporting about the Rohingya minority in the media, was a type of selective
‘reframing’.1 In an attempt to try to offset some of the bias, this author has tried
to balance the perspectives with always representing opposing sides. My own
professional bias is that I am victimologist from the USA and tend to slant my
perspective in defence of victims. Thus, if erroneous generalizations have been
made, I accept full responsibility for them.
The definition of genocide used throughout this article is ‘the use of deliberate
systematic measures (as killing, bodily or mental injury, unlivable conditions,
prevention of births) calculated to bring about the extermination of a racial,
political, or cultural group or to destroy the language, religion or culture of a
group’ (p. 947).2 The criteria for using the word genocide in this text are
imbedded in the aforementioned definition and especially in the Genocide
Convent ion (refer for more details under the following section Human Rights
Issues below). It is the conviction of this author and competent legal international
scholars that there is ‘strong evidence that genocide is being committed
against the Rohingya people’ (p. 1)3 and thus this is an appropriate term to
use in the case of the ongoing victimizations of the Rohingya minority from
1 N. Afzal, Elements of Pathos and Media Framing a Scientific Discourse: A Newspaper Perspective
on Rohingya Crisis, 3(10) International Journal of Advanced and Applied Science. 89–99 (2016),
available at (last visited 20 November 2017).
2 M. Webster, Webster’s Third New International Dictionary of the English Language Unabridged
(Springfield, MA, USA: G. & C. Merriam Company, Publishers, 1971).
3 A. Lindblom, E. Marsh, T. Motala, & K. Munyan, Persecution of the Rohingya Muslims. Is Genocide
Occurring in Myanmar’s Rakhine State? A Legal Analysis (Allard K. Lowenstein, International
Human Rights Clinic, Yale Law School, Prepared for Fortified Rights, October 2015): 1–65, avail-
able at
pdf (last visited 28 November 2017).

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