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The Sentinel Project for Genocide Prevention: A Formula for Ethnic Cleansing in Burma
Steven Kierson 
28 August 2013    
Yesterday’s failed attempt to initiate violence by 969 members, including Buddhist monks, illustrated something of the method of ethnic cleansing in Burma. A masked man in Thandwe attacked a Buddhist woman. While there was no way to determine the attacker’s ethnicity, organized Rakhine crowds operated under the assumption, or ruse, that the man was Muslim.
Here was a clear attempt by ultra-nationalist organization 969, a group officially backed by Thein Sein and the Burmese government, to stage a crime in order to initiate ethnic cleansing in Thandwe using the same formula successfully employed in other Burmese locales including Thandwe itself earlier this year.
In Lashio, on May 29, 2013, a rumor that a Muslim man had set a Buddhist woman on fire was circulated. (…) Security forces tolerated the violence for days before restoring order.
In Thandwe, on July 1, 2013, a rumor that a Muslim man had sexually assaulted a Buddhist woman was circulated. (…) While security forces were able to disperse the crowd, three Muslims were injured.
In Htan Kone, on August 25, 2013, a rumor that a Muslim man had sexually assaulted a Buddhist woman was circulated. (…) A Member of Parliament who later went to investigate the violence was refused access to the alleged 12 detainees and told by locals that many of the rioters were not from Htan Kone.
Something of a pattern is emerging with regard to ethnic cleansing in Burma. In all above examples, as well as ethnic cleansing conducted in Sittwe, Meiktila, and Okkan, the formula was followed more or less to the letter:
1) A crime, real or imagined, is rumored to have been committed against a Buddhist.
2) An organized mob is formed quickly outside a local police station, if the suspect is being held there.
3) The police, appearing to uphold the rule of law, refuse access to the suspect.
4) The mob conducts ethnic cleansing and killing in the area.
5) Security forces stand by and observe the violence without intervening.
6) The Muslim population moves into squalid, isolated ghettos or IDP camps, where they are persecuted by security forces.
7) After the event, some witnesses report that many of the rioters appeared not to be locals.
(…) The police are able to maintain the appearance of upholding the rule of law. When the mobs commit violence, however, security forces stand by and do nothing, or, in some cases as the BBC reported, have been observed to be actively involved in the violence. This latter feature has waned recently, with security forces restoring order in two to three days, after the bulk of ethnic cleansing has been achieved. (…)
See full article here.



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