Posted: June 5, 2018
Written by: Genocide Survivors Foundation
On June 2nd, Genocide Survivors Foundation (GSF) partnered with the Church of Advent Hope to organize an awareness-raising program on the ongoing genocide against the Rohingya people in Burma/ Myanmar as well as the current refugee crisis.
Adem Carroll who is the New York and United Nations program director for Burma Task Force, an organization which has been at the forefront of raising awareness about the Rohingya genocide, began by giving the historical overview which has led to the genocide, citing a history of discrimination, marginalization, and dehumanization of the Rohingya people. He then went on to describe the current Burmese military-led atrocities including burning of Rohingya villages, torture, murder and rape of Rohingya women and girls. Mr. Carroll also spoke about the current failure of the international community to stop the atrocities and called on the audience to get involved in pressuring the U.S government to call the current atrocities against the Rohingya people by their true name, a genocide, and to start doing more to bring it to an end.
Beth Lilach who is the Senior Director of Education and community affairs at the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center spoke about her recent trip to meet with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh’s refugee camps as a part of an interfaith commission to stop the genocide in Burma.
Ms. Lilach described the horrid circumstances she witnessed at the refugee camps; Rohingya men, women and children living without many basic needs. She then went on to talk about her interviews with Rohingya refugees who described in details how they watched as the Burmese military burned their homes and villages and murdered their families.
Ms. Lilach shared her conversations and interviews with women who described watching helplessly as their babies were thrown into fires and how the women and girls were then taken aside and raped, often gang raped. Ms. Lilach ended her presentation by shedding light to the urgent needs of the Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh who are on the verge of facing deadly floods and landslides as a result of intense monsoon rains which are expected in the upcoming months. She called on the audience to get involved, write and call their government representatives and demand more efforts to stop the ongoing Rohingya genocide and to support those who have survived and are now living in dangerous refugee camps.
The program ended with remarks by Genocide Survivors Foundation’s Founder Jacqueline Murekatete who shared how deeply painful and horrifying it is for her and other survivors of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda to be going through the commemorative period for Rwanda while knowing that another genocide is going on in another part of the world at this very moment. She pleaded with the audience to speak up and get involved in the current efforts to stop the Rohingya genocide. She called on them to remember that “Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented,” as Holocaust survivor and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Elie Wiesel once said.« Back to News + Blog