On push factors

Emanuel Stoakes in Foreign Policy’s Dispatch blog discusses testimonies and documentary evidence shown in the new Al Jazeera documentary, “Genocide Agenda” that purports to link the Myanmar government to anti-Muslim incitement.

The film points to a multi-pronged strategy by the government to encourage anti-Muslim hatred across the country, while pursuing policies against the Rohingya that legal scholars in the film refer to as “genocidal.”

In 2011, Myanmar’s reformist government launched a cautious process of liberalization that removed long-standing restrictions on opposition party activity, allowed for relative freedom of the press, and led to the release of many political prisoners. Yet the country’s gradual opening has also been blamed for the emergence of ferocious sectarian violence between the Buddhist majority and members of the Muslim minority. This conflict is often depicted as organic and spontaneous, a grassroots eruption of stored-up grievances enabled by new freedoms.

Yet what this version of events ignores is that government officials and members of the military elite have played an active role in fomenting interethnic tensions. Evidence obtained by Al Jazeera shows conclusively that the recent surge of anti-Muslim hatred has been anything but random. In fact, it’s the product of a concerted government campaign clearly aimed at promoting instability and undermining the opposition by stirring up the forces of militant nationalism.

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For more on Burma (/Myanmar): see Christian Caryl in Foreign Policy on the politicalization of religion influencing the upcoming national election.

Regarding early(-er) warning of mass atrocities, see John Sides at the Monkey Cage talking with Jay Ulfelder about the Early Warning Project. Regarding legal analysis on definitions, see Marko Milanovic at the EIJL: Talk! blog discussing the recent decision of Vasiliauskas v. Lithuania (ECtHR).

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