The United Nations Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which entered into force on January 12, 1951, states: ?In the present Convention, genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:

( a ) Killing members of the group; 
( b ) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; 
( c ) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; 
( d ) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; 
( e ) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The ruling Burmese, both the Buddhist society and the Buddhist state, have committed the first four of these acts, though the state denies wrongdoing by their security forces during the nearly six months of violence in 2012 that left 167 Rohingya Muslims dead and 110,000 refugees.

As for paragraph (e), malnourished, poorly educated Rohingya children have not been ?forcibly transferred? to another group, but there have been instances of Rohingya children being brutally murdered?stabbed, drowned, burned alive?by the Buddhist Rakhine.

During a public lecture in Brunei, Southeast Asia, on December 2, 2012, Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), was asked by a student what the OIC?with its 57 member states representing, in theory, at least 1.5 billion Muslims?was doing to address the persecution of Muslim minorities around the world. In his response, Ihsanoglu described the Burmese democracy icon and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi as a human rights activist for Burma?s Buddhists. Suu Kyi, he said, is ?only interested in the human rights of the Buddhists because they are human beings and the Muslims are not.? While the emotion behind the statement is understandable, there is a political calculus at play. Aung San Suu Kyi has little to gain from speaking out against the treatment of the Rohingya Muslims. She is no longer a political dissident, she?s a politician, and her eyes are fixed on a prize: winning the 2015 election with a majority Buddhist vote.

Prior to his lecture in Brunei, Professor Ihsanoglu sent a letter to Suu Kyi on behalf of the OIC in which he pressed the National League for Democracy (NLD) leader to use her enormousawza, or earned societal influence, to help stem the tide of Buddhist racism against the Rohingya and the Muslim population at large. The letter was met with silence. In failing to decry the human rights abuses against the Rohingya, Burma?s iconic leader?who is seen in some Burmese Buddhist circles as bhodhi saddhava (?would-be Buddha?)?has failed to walk the walk of Buddhist humanism.

On January 4, 2013, the 65th anniversary of Burma?s independence from British rule, Suu Kyi said in a speech at the NLD headquarters that Burma?s people need to rely on themselves if they want to realize their dream of a free and prosperous nation. ?Don?t expect anyone to be your savior,? she warned. But as the Burmese magazine The Irrawaddy pointed out in a recent editorial, ?Suu Kyi is right that Burma doesn?t need a savior; but it does need a leader.?


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