Museum directors say they have an obligation "to give for communities today what was not done during the Holocaust for the Jews"
NEW YORK — The D.C.-based U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum said Monday that it was duty-bound to raise the alarm about the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, a minority population museum researchers say are victims of genocide at the hands of the Myanmar military.
“We have an obligation as an institution to stand with communities that have experienced atrocities, to try to give for communities today what was not done during the Holocaust for the Jews,” museum deputy director Naomi Kikoler said.
“We cannot say that this is an atrocity that we were unaware. We cannot say that there is not clear and convincing evidence that a genocide has taken place.”
Kikoler said the U.S. and other influential governments should seize every opportunity to deny support to Myanmar’s military and to elevate human rights concerns all too often prioritized below security cooperation and a range of other issues.
Regardless of whether the U.S. heeds that appeal, Kikoler says the Holocaust museum will keep collecting evidence of the Rohingya genocide that could later provide useful in bringing leaders of the Myanmar military to justice.
“As we know from the Holocaust, those who perpetrate atrocities all too often try to deny any evidence that this has occurred,” Kikoler said, citing reports that Myanmar’s military has bulldozed and begun building over the sites of its alleged mass killings.
“We want to help counter that very deliberate effort to deny the commission of genocide and help set a historical record for the future and for those Rohingya who continue to be at risk of genocide today.”
To date, American officials have described the targeted killing of the Rohingya as “ethnic cleansing,” though only weeks later National Security Adviser John Bolton bashed the International Criminal Court — the tribunal most likely to one day pursue justice on behalf of the Rohingya — as “ineffective, unaccountable” and “dangerous.”