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LONDON SCHOOL OF ECONOMICS CONFERENCE ON

DECADES OF PERSECUTION ON ROHINGYA: A GENOCIDE?

A public event co-sponsored by:


LSECivilSocietyandHumanSecurityResearchUnit & BurmeseRohingya OrganizationUK(BROUK)

Time&Date: Venue:

8.3017.00m,28April2014 TheShawLibrary(FoundersRoom) LondonSchoolofEconomicsandPoliticalScience

ToRSVPpleaseemail:m.zarni@lse.ac.uk orbrorg.london@gmail.com ,ortext 07888714866(UK)

The Muslim Rohingya of Myanmar (officially estimated at more than 1 million) are, by any standards, among the worlds most severely persecuted ethnic groups. Their death and destruction of the morally obliges the debate: Is this decades-long persecution by the successive Myanmar governments since 1978 in fact genocide? The crime of genocide is defined as the acts (conducts) committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such. This one-day conference on the plight of the Rohingya will bring together internationally renowned researchers and activists on Rohingya persecution; concerned academics from the field of international genocide studies and criminology, practitioners with first-hand involvement in previous genocide tribunals such as Yugoslavia, Cambodia, and Rwanda. The speakers and participants will present their research findings, discuss various international human rights laws, and brainstorm ways to bring an end to one of the worlds longest state-directed persecutions of an ethnic and religious group. The discussants will offer evidence and explanations behind the long-running persecution. A Brief Background As a group, the Rohingyas ancestral home straddles the Myanmar/Burmas strategically important Western region called Arakan (now Rakhine) and the neighbouring Bangladesh and the Bay of Bengal. The Rohingyas demographic and ethnic history is not different from the histories of the countrys other borderland ethnic peoples such as the Kachin, the Chin, the Karen, the Shan, the Wa, the Naga, the Shan Chinese and so on, whose ancestral roots predate the post-World War II emergence of new modern nation-states. Unlike other groups, the Rohingya have been subjected to a government-organized systematic campaign of mass killing, terror, torture, attempts to prevent births on the basis of ethnicity, forced labor, severe restrictions on physical movement, large scale internal displacement (estimated at 140,000), sexual violence, arbitrary arrest, summary execution, land-grab and community destruction. Myanmars three-decades of policies have produced conditions of life for the Rohingya where the doctor-patient ratio is 1: 80,000 ( the national average is about 1:400), the infant mortality rate is three times the countrys average, 90% of Rohingya are deliberately left illiterate in a country with one of the highest adult literacy rates in all of Asia. Moreover, the Rohingya are periodically blocked from accessing basic humanitarian assistance provided, for instance, by the Nobel Prize-winning organization Doctors without Borders. Consequently, there have been an unknown number of deaths and large scale exoduses overland and sea to Bangladesh, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Australia and Canada. As early as 1978 the first Myanmar government-organized campaign against the Rohingya was launched, in the guise of an illegal immigration crack-down. Consequently, about 200,000 Rohingya became the first significant exodus/population transfer into newly-independent Bangladesh where they have been equally un-welcome. Even then the Far Eastern Economic Review framed the plight of the Rohingya as Burmas Apartheid. Nearly four decades on, South Africas Desmond Tutu, the veteran anti-apartheid campaigner in his homeland, coined the same word, apartheid, to characterize the Rohingya oppression during his visit to Rangoon. The Rohingya have been living in what is now Myanmar for generations if not a millennium. Within a decade of independence from Britain in 1948, the Government of the Union of Burma officially recognized the Rohingya, the groups collective self-referential historical identity. As well as being recognized as one of Myanmars distinct ethnic groups and granted full citizenship rights, as evidenced in the entry under Rohingya in the official Encyclopedia of the Union of Burma (1964), the Rohingya were allowed to take part in numerous acts of citizenship, such as serving in the then democratic parliament. They were able to broadcast thrice-weekly in their own mother tongue, Rohingya, on Myanmars sole National Broadcasting Service (Burma Broadcasting Service or BBS) and held positions in the countrys security forces and other ministries. They were permitted to form their own communal, professional and student associations bearing the name Rohingya, and above all, granted a Special Administrative Region for the two large pockets in Western Burma made up of 75 percent Rohingya Muslims. Human Rights Watch, the US Holocaust Memorial Museum and Irish Human Rights Centre frame the Rohingya persecution as ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. This Spring, the University of Washington Law Schools academic journal Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal is scheduled to publish a three-year study of Myanmars atrocities against the group entitled The Slow-Burning Genocide of Myanmars Rohingya Misleadingly, international media and foreign governments have characterized the Rohingya persecution as sectarian or communal largely ignoring the instrumental role Myanmars successive governments have played in the death and destruction of the Rohingya as the countrys most vulnerable ethnic group.

SPEAKERS
Welcome Remarks
Dr Barbara Harrell-Bond, OBE Founding Director, Refugee Studies Centre; Professor Emeritus, Oxford University & Director, Fahamu Refugee Programme

An appeal to the world


Tun Khin President of Burmese Rohingya Organization UK. (BROUK)

Keynote Address - Surviving Rwanda Genocide: A first-hand experience


Prudentienne Seward - 1994Rwandagenocidesurvivor&activist;Founder,PAX

What is a genocide? Who decides?


Professor Daniel Feierstein - President of the International Association of Genocide Scholars, Director of the Centre for Genocide Studies at the Universidad Nacional de Tres de Febrero; Professor in the Faculty of Genocide at the University of Buenos Aires & author of Genocide as a Social Practice: Reorganizing Society Under the Nazis and Argentina's Military Juntas (2014)

International Human Rights Law and Mechanisms for Pursuit of Justice


Professor Gabriele Della Morte - Professor of International Law at the Universit Cattolica di Milano, counsel for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR) (2003-2004), Law Clerk for the Prosecutor Office of the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (2000), and a member of a government delegation for the establishment of the International Criminal Court (1998)

Cambodia's Khmer Rouge Tribunal: one model for a combined national and international judicial mechanism
Dr Helen Jarvis- formerly Chief of Public Affairs of the Cambodian Tribunal, Documentation Consultant for Yale Universitys Cambodian Genocide Program and co-author of "Getting away with genocide? Elusive justice and the Khmer Rouge tribunal" (Pluto, 2004)

The Russell-Satre Tribunal and other alternative routes to international justice Professor Dr. Gianni Tognoni - The Secretary General of the Permanent Peoples Tribunal, Rome Defenseless Rohingya and their Protection
Nurul Islam Chairman, Arakan Rohingya National Organization (ARNO)

Bangladesh Government policies and the Situation of the Rohingya Refugees


Dr Shapan Adnan - Research Associate, Contemporary South Asian Studies Programme, Oxford University & Former Associate Professor of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore

The Slow-Burning Genocide of the Rohingya


Dr Maung Zarni - Co-author of The Slow Burning Genocide of Myanmars Rohingya, Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal, (Forthcoming, Spring 2014) Mass Violence against Myanmars Muslims and State Persecution of Muslim Rohingya Kyaw Win - General Secretary, Burmese Muslim Association, UK

The State in Myanmar and Its Crimes


Professor Penny Green - Professor of Law and Criminology, Head of Research in the Dickson Poon School of Law and Director of the International State Crime Initiative (ISCI), Kings College, University of London

Mapping and Tracking the Rohingya Persecution


Christopher Tuckwood - Director, The Sentinel Project for the Prevention of Genocide, Canada

Mass Atrocities and How They End: Preliminary Findings from high intensity cases of mass killings
Professor Bridget Conley - Assistant Professor of Research, The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, Boston & formerly Director of Research, US Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington DC

Marching to Genocide in Burma


Tom Andrews - Former US Congressman & President of United to End Genocide (UEG), Washington, DC [or Daniel Sullivan, UEG and co-author of the report Marching to Genocide in Burma, (March 2014)]

http://www.lse.ac.uk/internationalDevelopment/research/CSHS/Home.aspx

http://www.brouk.org.uk/

The conference was supported by US National Endowment for Democracy, Justice for All and Burma Task Force (USA), Burmese Rohingya Organization UK and individual donors.