A Responsibility to Prevent Genocide

Palestine was invaded 70 years ago and ethnic cleansing has been taking place for 70 years – whose responsibility is that?

Thousands of new Rohingya refugee arrivals cross the border near Anzuman Para village, Palong Khali, Bangladesh. Credit: UNHCR/Roger Arnold

By Tharanga Yakupitiyage
UNITED NATIONS, Dec 12 2017 (IPS)

Almost 70 years since the Genocide Convention was adopted, the international community still faces a continued and growing risk of genocide.

On the International Day of Commemoration and Dignity of the Victims of the Crime of Genocide, the UN launched an appeal for member states to ratify the 1948 convention by the end of 2018.

“Genocide does not happen by accident; it is deliberate, with warning signs and precursors,” said Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

“Often it is the culmination of years of exclusion, denial of human rights and other wrongs. Since genocide can take place in times of war and in times of peace, we must be ever-vigilant,” he continued.

The Secretary-General’s Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide Adama Dieng echoed similar sentiments, stating: “It is our inaction, our ineffectiveness in addressing the warning signs, that allows it to become a reality. A reality where people are dehumanized and persecuted for who they are, or who they represent. A reality of great suffering, cruelty, and of inhumane acts that have at the basis unacceptable motivations.”

The Convention defines genocide as “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group.” This includes not only killing members of the group, but also causing serious bodily or mental harm and imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.

Despite the comprehensive definition of genocide in the Convention, genocide has recurred multiple times, Guterres said.

“We are still reacting rather than preventing, and acting only when it is often too late. We must do more to respond early and keep violence from escalating,” he said.

One such case may be Myanmar.

After a year of investigation, the organization Fortify Rights and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum said that there is “mounting” evidence that points to a genocide against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar with Burmese Army soldiers, police, and civilians as the major perpetrators.

“The Rohingya have suffered attacks and systematic violations for decades, and the international community must not fail them now when their very existence in Myanmar is threatened,” said Cameron Hudson from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.

“Without urgent action, there’s a high risk of more mass atrocities,” he continued.

More than half of Myanmar’s one million Rohingya have fled the country since violence reignited in August.

“They tried to kill us all,” 25-year-old Mohammed Rafiq from Maungdaw Township told researchers when recalling how soldiers gathered villagers and opened fire on them on 30 August.

“There was nothing left. People were shot in the chest, stomach, legs, face, head, everywhere.”

Eyewitness testimony revealed that Rohingya civilians were burned alive, women and girls raped, and men and boys arrested en masse.

“These crimes thrive on impunity and inaction…condemnations aren’t enough,” said Chief Executive Officer of Fortify Rights Matthew Smith.

The government’s strict restrictions on Rohingya’s daily lives also point to signs of genocide.

In 2013, authorities placed a two-child limit on Rohingya couples in two predominantly Muslim townships in Rakhine State.

Others have come forward to claim that the crisis in Myanmar may constitute genocide such as UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein and the British parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee.

“Considering Rohingyas’ self-identify as a distinct ethnic group with their own language and culture – and [that they] are also deemed by the perpetrators themselves as belonging to a different ethnic, national, racial or religious group – given all of this, can anyone rule out that elements of genocide may be present?” al-Hussein asked.

Though the UN Human Rights Council recently condemned the systematic and gross violations of human rights in Myanmar, the Security Council has failed to act on the crisis.

As the UN appeals for the remaining 45 member states to ratify the Genocide Convention, what about nations like Myanmar who are already party to the document?

The Convention requires all states to take action to prevent and punish genocide. Not only Myanmar, but the entire international community has failed to protect Rohingya civilians from mass atrocities.

This failure suggests that the international community may need to consider additional mechanisms to address and prevent genocide.

To date, a total of 149 member states have ratified the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.

The post A Responsibility to Prevent Genocide appeared first on Inter Press Service.

Bollywood sexual harassment: actors speak out on Indian cinema’s open secret

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Women tell the Guardian that unmasking of abusive men is overdue in industry that shames and undermines victims

The casting director had one hand pressed to the phone at his ear; the other, according to a police complaint, he rested on Reena Saini’s thigh.

“He was casting for TV serials,” Saini, 26, recalls. “One day he called me for an audition. And when I reached the place he said, come into my car and talk, I’m in a hurry.”

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Mueller’s investigation is closing in on Trump. Congress must protect him | Max Bergmann and Max Boot

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The closer Mueller gets to Trump, the likelier it is that Trump will act to try to end his investigation. That’s why he must be protected now

Mueller is coming.

The investigation into Trump campaign coordination with Russia appears to be closing in on the president. The three indictments earlier this month of Trump campaign chairman, Paul Manafort; his deputy, Rick Gates; and foreign policy adviser George Papadopoulos show that Robert Mueller is inside Trump’s campaign. The indictment and plea agreement of former national security adviser Michael Flynn now puts the investigation into the White House.

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David Davis scrambles to salvage EU relations after ‘damaging trust’

Doah!

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Brexit secretary moves to persuade Guy Verhofstadt that UK can be trusted after claiming deal was just ‘statement of intent’

David Davis has scrambled to salvage relations with Brussels after he was accused of damaging trust in the Brexit talks by making inflammatory comments over the status of Britain’s promises.

Related: MEPs will toughen their Brexit demands after David Davis’s ‘unhelpful’ interview, says Verhofstadt – Politics live

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Can a GM banana solve Uganda’s hunger crisis? | Alon Mwesigwa

GM Banana opens the door to massive crop failure when “nature” responds with its attempt to restore the imbalance caused by the mono-crop!

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A law paving the way for GM crops is aimed at tackling the acute food shortages faced by almost 11 million Ugandans, despite experts’ fears over the technology

After an afternoon drizzle, Ephraim Muhereza carefully scouts his three-acre banana plantation in Gayaza, Wakiso district, plucking male buds from trees. This will stop his plants from catching the notorious banana bacterial wilt, which has destroyed many farms in Uganda.

“We have been told that to reduce the spread of the wilt. We have to cut them so that bees that visit them don’t spread the disease,” he says.

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Trump attacks senator and dismisses sexual harassment claims as Democratic conspiracy

Trump sends ‘ugly and suggestive’ tweet about senator Kirsten Gillibrand after she called on him to resign over sexual misconduct allegations

Source: Trump attacks senator and dismisses sexual harassment claims as Democratic conspiracy

““Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office ‘begging’ for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump,” the president tweeted.

Gillibrand – who along with three male Democratic senators has called on Trump to resign over the numerous sexual misconduct accusations against him – responded on Twitter minutes later. “You cannot silence me or the millions of women who have gotten off the sidelines to speak out about the unfitness and shame you have brought to the Oval Office,” the New York senator wrote.

Hours later, Gillibrand told reporters on Capitol Hill that Trump’s post was “a sexist smear attempting to silence my voice. It’s part of the president’s effort at name-calling.”

She added: “I will not be silenced on this issue. Neither will the women who stood up to the president yesterday, and neither will the millions of women who have been marching since the women’s march [in January] to stand up against policies they do not agree with.”

Trump singled out Gillibrand while ignoring the male senators who have also called on him to step down: the Vermont senator Bernie Sanders, the New Jersey senator Cory Booker and the Oregon senator Jeff Merkley.”