Genocide Charities Condemn Ethnic Cleansing in Myanmar

Leading UK genocide charities Remembering Srebrenica, the Aegis Trust, the National Holocaust Centre and the Holocaust Survivors' Friendship Association have come together to collectively condemn the violence being carried out against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

The tragic and shameful treatment of Rohingya Muslims, often described as the most persecuted minority in the world, has now escalated into a humanitarian crisis. The Rohingya people are facing severe discrimination, escalating violence, forced statelessness, and, as reported by the United Nations, ethnic cleansing.

As organisations which seek to learn from some of the darkest chapters of history, we urge world leaders to condemn the shocking violence that has occurred, and to do everything in their power to prevent further mass atrocities.

The silence from leaders in Myanmar's Democracy Movement about the treatment of the Rohingya Muslims only serves to worsen the plight of their suffering, and moves us to speak up. We are reminded of the words of Nobel Laureate and Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel who said: "We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

Dr Waqar Azmi OBE, Chair of Remembering Srebrenica said:

"One of the most important lessons we can learn from Srebrenica is that the genocide could have been prevented. Genocide does not happen overnight, and there are warning signs which show when we have a choice to act in order to prevent the worst happening. 

"Ethnic cleansing and genocide took place in Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1995 which was the worst atrocity on European soil since the Second World War.  It is crucial that we work to tackle hatred in the early stages to try to prevent these horrific acts from happening again"

Dr James Smith CBE, CEO Aegis Trust said:

"It is in moments like these, where civilians are being persecuted and need to flee their homes that we need to ask ourselves whether our governments' policies, strategies and institutions are robust enough to prevent mass atrocities".

Phil Lyons MBE, CEO National Holocaust Centre said:

"Any notion of human equality and justice is rooted in freedom from persecution. There are no exemptions for nation states and the potential consequences of inaction are known to us all." 

Lilian Black, Chair of HSFA, said:

"We are all complicit through our silence, and so we must speak out against this and condemn such brutality - it is incomprehensible that this is taking place in 2017. I call on those who are able to intervene to do so at once."

 

-Ends-

 

Notes to Editors:

The genocide in Srebrenica

On 11 July 1995, Bosnian Serb General Ratko Mladi? and his forces seized the eastern Bosnian town of Srebrenica, which had been declared a UN "safe zone" in 1993.  Over the following week, 8,372 Bosnian Muslim men and boys would be murdered simply because they were Muslim.

Mladi?'s forces systematically separated men and boys (as young as 12 years old) from the women, and took them away to be killed. Women and girls were subjected to inhumane treatment, and in many cases, sexual violence. Rape was used to destabilise and terrorise the local population throughout the 1992 - 1995 war.   It is estimated that between 20,000 - 50,000 women were subjected to sexual violence in Bosnia during the war.

Both the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia have ruled Srebrenica a genocide. In March 2016, Radovan Karadži?, former President of what is now known as the Republika Srpska, was found guilty of the genocide at Srebrenica. He is the most senior figure to be convicted of genocide since Nuremburg. The verdict in the Mladi? trial is due in November 2017.

In 2009 the European Parliament passed a resolution calling for all European countries to commemorate Srebrenica Memorial Day on 11 July each year.

The Charity Remembering Srebrenica

Remembering Srebrenica is the UK organiser of the EU-designated Srebrenica Memorial Day on 11 July. The charity is part-funded by the Department for Communities and Local Government, and is supported by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Prime Minister.  The Charity has 1,000 Community Champions all committed to tackling hatred by organising memorial events, establishing social action projects, as well as promoting community cohesion.

The charity has reached over 32, 000 children through education packs on the lessons from the Srebrenica genocide for use in secondary schools in the UK and other educational activities.

The charity has established three country boards for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and six regional boards in England all working to tackle hatred and build cohesion in their communities.

During July 2017, over 540 Srebrenica commemoration events were held across the UK.

For further information on the work of the charity please visit:

Website: www.srebrenica.org.uk/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/rememberingsrebrenica

Twitter: @SrebrenicaUK

Email: info@srebrenica.org.uk