(WASHINGTON D.C., March 21, 2022)—On March 21, 2022, the U.S. government issued a determination that Myanmar’s military committed genocide against the Rohingya. In his speech, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken cited Fortify Rights’s research as a factor influencing the determination, saying:

It’s a decision that I reached based on reviewing a factual assessment and legal analysis prepared by the State Department, which included detailed documentation by a range of independent, impartial sources . . . Among those sources was a joint report, published in November 2017, by the museum’s Simon-Skjodt Center for the Prevention of Genocide and the human rights group, Fortify Rights; and the Museum’s determination, in December 2018, that there is compelling evidence that Burmese military committed crimes against humanity and genocide against Rohingya.

Fortify Rights has long advocated for the U.S. government to issue a genocide determination for military-led attacks against the Rohingya. This includes the publication of our 2018 report “They Gave Them Long Swords,” two joint letters with Refugees International to Blinken, and multiple advocacy meetings with U.S. State Department officials, U.S. National Security Council, U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, as well as U.S. Ambassador at the Office of Global Criminal Justice. 

On March 25, 2022, 11 Rohingya camp-based refugee groups in developing a statement welcoming the U.S. government’s determination. The statement reads, in part: 

The military junta continues to commit crimes against Rohingya and other ethnic groups throughout the country, our people in Rakhine State are facing ongoing persecution and restrictions including on their rights to freedom of movement, livelihoods, and nationality. Rohingya refugees in the camps believe that declaring what happened to us as a genocide should help push efforts to hold the Myanmar military accountable for their crimes. 

Fortify Rights provided editorial support to the refugee groups involved in developing the statement.

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