U.S. acknowledges that Myanmar’s military orchestrated genocide against the Rohingya.

The Unit­ed States has offi­cial­ly deter­mined that vio­lence com­mit­ted against the Rohingya minor­i­ty by the Myan­mar mil­i­tary amounts to geno­cide and crimes against human­i­ty, U.S. offi­cials told Reuters news agency.

U.S. Sec­re­tary of State Antony Blinken will announce the deci­sion on Mon­day at the U.S. Holo­caust Memo­r­i­al Muse­um in Wash­ing­ton, DC, U.S. offi­cials told Reuters, which is cur­rent­ly host­ing an exhib­it on the plight of the Rohingya.

This comes near­ly 14 months after he took office and pledged to con­duct a new review of the violence.

Myan­mar’s armed forces launched a mil­i­tary oper­a­tion in 2017 that forced at least 730,000 most­ly Mus­lim Rohingya to leave their homes and trav­el to neigh­bor­ing Bangladesh, where they have told of killings, gang rapes and arson. In 2021, the Burmese mil­i­tary seized pow­er in a coup.

U.S. offi­cials and an out­side law firm gath­ered evi­dence in an effort to quick­ly acknowl­edge the sever­i­ty of the atroc­i­ties, but then-Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo refused to make a decision.

Blinken ordered his own “legal and fac­tu­al analy­sis,” U.S. offi­cials told Reuters on con­di­tion of anonymi­ty. The analy­sis con­clud­ed that the Myan­mar mil­i­tary was com­mit­ting geno­cide, and Wash­ing­ton believes the for­mal deter­mi­na­tion will increase inter­na­tion­al pres­sure to hold the gen­er­als accountable.

“It will make it hard­er for them to com­mit fur­ther abus­es,” said a senior State Depart­ment official.

Offi­cials at the Myan­mar embassy in Wash­ing­ton, DC and a mil­i­tary gov­ern­ment spokesman did not imme­di­ate­ly respond to Reuters emails seek­ing com­ment on Sunday.

The Myan­mar mil­i­tary has denied com­mit­ting geno­cide against the Rohingya, who are denied cit­i­zen­ship in Myan­mar, and said it was con­duct­ing an “oper­a­tion against ter­ror­ists” in 2017.

A Unit­ed Nations fact-find­ing mis­sion con­clud­ed in 2018 that the army’s cam­paign includ­ed “acts of geno­cide,” but Wash­ing­ton at the time called the atroc­i­ties “eth­nic cleans­ing,” a term that has no legal def­i­n­i­tion under inter­na­tion­al crim­i­nal law.

“It real­ly shows the world and par­tic­u­lar­ly the vic­tims and sur­vivors with­in the Rohingya com­mu­ni­ty and more broad­ly that the Unit­ed States rec­og­nizes the grav­i­ty of what’s going on,” a sec­ond senior State Depart­ment offi­cial said Mon­day of Blinken’s announcement.

A deter­mi­na­tion of geno­cide does not auto­mat­i­cal­ly trig­ger puni­tive action by the Unit­ed States.

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