Myanmar’s junta on Tuesday said it “categorically rejects” a United States declaration that the military committed genocide against the mostly Muslim Rohingya minority.
“The narratives mentioned in the speech of the Secretary of State (Antony Blinken) are found to be far from reality,” the junta’s foreign affairs ministry said in a statement.
“Myanmar has never engaged in any genocidal actions and does not have any genocidal intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, racial or religious group or any other group,” the statement added.
The United States officially declared Monday that violence against the Rohingya committed by Myanmar’s military amounted to genocide, saying there was clear evidence of an attempt to “destroy” the Muslim minority.
Citing the killings of thousands and forcing close to a million to flee the country in 2016 and 2017, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he had “determined that members of the Burmese military committed genocide and crimes against humanity against Rohingya”.
Around 850,000 Rohingya are languishing in camps in neighbouring Bangladesh, recounting mass killings and rape of the campaign launched against them five years ago.
Another 600,000 members of the community remain in Myanmar’s Rakhine state where they report widespread oppression.