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Al Jazeera investigation uncovers government-led genocide in Myanmar

Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit has obtained compelling eyewitness and documentary evidence that the government of Myanmar has been triggering communal violence in order to achieve political gain.

The film, Genocide Agenda, exclusively reveals:

  • Evidence that Myanmar government agents have been involved in triggering anti-Muslim riots.
  • An official military document that uses hate speech and claims the Myanmarese are in danger of being ‘devoured’ by Muslims.
  • A confidential document warning of “nationwide communal riots” was deliberately sent to local townships to incite anti-Muslim fears.
  • A report by Yale Law School that concludes there is “strong evidence” genocide is taking place in Myanmar.
  • A former United Nations’ Rapporteur on Myanmar who says President Thein Sein should now be investigated for genocide.
  • Evidence that monks involved in the Saffron Revolution in 2007 that challenged military rule were offered money to join anti-Muslim, pro-government groups.
  • A report by the International State Crime Initiative at London University, which confirms that genocide is taking place. The team gathered independent evidence that riots in 2012 that left hundreds of Rohingya dead and over a hundred thousand homeless were pre-planned.

These actions amount to intent to commit genocide, according to the Lowenstein Clinic at Yale University, part of one of the foremost law schools in the United States. 

As the first contested elections approach on November 8, Al Jazeera’s investigation presents compelling evidence that marginalizing Muslims and targeting the Rohingya plays into the hands of the military backed party, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP).

The USDP is running against numerous ethnic and other parties but primarily against the National League for Democracy (NLD), led by Aung Sang Suu Kyi.

Evidence from a cache of confidential documents and sources within the Sangha (monkhood) confirms that monks who protested against military rule in 2007 and were later imprisoned were offered money to support government-backed religious institutions upon their release.

The investigation also reveals how the government triggers communal violence using hired thugs.  A former member of Myanmar’s feared Military Intelligence service describes how she witnessed agent provocateurs from the army provoke problems with Muslims. “The army controlled these events from behind the scenes. They were not directly involved,” she said, “they paid money to people from outside”.

According to Matt Smith, from the advocacy group, Fortify Rights, “Your documents indicate this trend is resurfacing, creating a common enemy.”

The documentary also includes a new study by Yale Law School, which concludes that there is “strong evidence” the government is guilty of genocide in its treatment of the Rohingya.

The study, released exclusively by Al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit, follows an eight-month investigation into the plight of Rohingya. The paper drew from documents obtained by the Investigative Unit and Fortify Rights.

Smith told the programme: “Several of the most powerful people in the country should reasonably be the subject of an international investigation into this situation of Rakhine State.”

The former United Nations Rapporteur on Myanmar, Tomas Quintana, tells the programme that certain ministers in the present Myanmar government should face a criminal investigation on charges of genocide. “You have the Minister for Home Affairs. You have the Minister of Immigration… and of course, we also have the President of Myanmar because overall it’s the president who appoints the ministers.”  

The contents of a report by the International State Crime Initiative at Queen Mary University of London are also released for the first time by al Jazeera’s Investigative Unit.

That report, Countdown to Annihilation: Genocide in Myanmar, concludes genocide of the Rohingya is taking place. Researchers gained evidence that communal violence resulting in hundreds of deaths in 2012 was pre-planned. “It wasn’t communal violence.  It was planned violence”, says Professor Penny Green. “Express buses were organized” to bring Rakhine from outlying areas to take part in the violence.

“Refreshments, meals were provided,” she said. “It had to be paid by somebody. All of this suggests that it was very carefully planned.”

 Yale Law School’s full legal paper will be published on Thursday, the 29th October. On the same day, the International State Crime Initiative at Queen Mary, the University of London, will publish their report, Countdown to Annihilation: Genocide in Myanmar.

The documentary will be available online at from 26th October and will air on Al Jazeera English at the following times: