A human rights group contracted by the US State Department reportedly found that there is “reasonable basis to conclude” that genocide did take place in Myanmar's Rakhine State against the Rohingya people. Another US State Department report released in September based on research of the same group came nearly a month after UN investigators issued a report accusing Myanmar's military of acting with “genocidal intent.”
With a consensus growing among human rights groups and other organisations that genocide was indeed committed against the Rohingya people, the US and other world powers must now recognise Myanmar's anti-Rohingya military operation for what it really was: a deliberate extermination campaign.
While the US and several global powers have denounced the crackdown, they have fallen short of calling it genocide. The US position is reportedly based on worries that the administration will be somewhat legally bound to act harshly against Myanmar, should it choose to call it genocide. But harsh actions are precisely what the world needs to take against Myanmar.
We understand that the international community is wary of taking any action that may undermine Myanmar's civilian government. But at the same time, when it comes to such a grave crisis, the world must prioritise its moral duty over realpolitiking.
The world's failure to act strongly against the campaign initially was partly to blame for the atrocities committed against the Rohingya. Now that fact-finding missions have repeatedly laid bare the facts about what happened in Rakhine—especially from August 2017 onwards—it's high time the international community corrected its previous mistakes and took stern actions against the perpetrators of some of the most heinous crimes against humanity of our time.