100 years after Armenian Genocide: ethnic groups still face extermination

100 years after Armenian Genocide: ethnic groups still face extermination

PanARMENIAN.Net - As the world commemorates the Armenian Genocide, campaigners are warning of continuing atrocities against ethnic and religious groups around the world, The Independent says.

The UN Convention on Genocide defines it as acts intended “to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group”. One hundred years later, numerous other peoples are at risk as sectarian conflicts continue across the world.

Yazidis in Iraq

As Isis (Islamic State) swept through the country last summer in its bloody quest to establish an “Islamic State”, Shia Muslims, Christians and anyone not conforming to its violent Salafist ideology was killed and persecuted. The Yazidi minority was pursued with particular ruthlessness as militants seized Sinjar, driving thousands of families into the mountains, where many died of hunger and thirst. Men were summarily executed and women were captured to become sex slaves to Isis fighters. The group has declared Yazidis heretics and published an article in its propaganda magazine Dabiq justifying their subjugation and extermination using theological rulings of early Islam.

Non-Sunnis under Isis

Isis gained control of huge swathes of Iraq and Syria in its violent advance last year and is now spreading its franchise to countries including Afghanistan and has Islamist affiliates operating in numerous countries. Its Salafist ideology and enforcement of Sharia law makes Shia Muslims, Christians, Assyrians and all other minorities an enemy standing in the way of its ultimate goal to establish a caliphate. In all places where Isis operates, these groups and others have faced forced conversion, persecution or death.

Rohingya in Burma

Genocide Watch, a group monitoring atrocities around the world, has declared an emergency in the state of Rakhine where around one million members of the minority are believed to live. The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority who claim to be indigenous to Burma but face systematic religious and ethnic discrimination. Burma, a predominantly Buddhist nation of 50 million, denies them citizenship, as does Bangladesh. In the last three years, attacks by Buddhist mobs have left hundreds of Rohingya dead and 140,000 trapped in camps where they live without access to adequate health care, education or jobs.

Kachin in Burma

Another ethnic group in Burma has become the victim of genocidal violence, according to human rights groups. The Kachin Independence Army is fighting in a state of the same name with its majority Christian population pitted against the Burmese Buddhist government. In June 2011, a 17-year peace agreement was shattered and fighting between the KIA and Burmese government has been non-stop ever since. Human Rights Watch estimates that more than 100,000 civilians Kachin have yet to return home following fighting from 2011 to 2013.

Non-Muslims in Boko Haram-controlled Nigeria

Boko Haram, the Islamist faction fighting a bloody insurgency to establish a caliphate in northern Nigeria, have targeted Christians and other minorities in endless terror attacks, massacres and kidnappings. The school where almost 300 girls were kidnapped in Chibok last year was in a dominantly Christian village and churches have often been targeted by militant attacks. Boko Haram’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, has declared “jihad” on Christianity in Nigeria and vowed to attack Nigerian government police and government officials.

Muslims and Christians in the Central African Republic

Both the UN and French officials have warned of the risk of genocide in the CAR at the hands of both sides in the continuing conflict. Abuses by Anti-Balaka Christian self-defence militias have targeted minority Muslim communities, while the mostly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition is also accused of grave abuses against Christians.

Dinka and Nuer in South Sudan

A dispute between President Salva Kiir and his deputy, Riek Machar, quickly degenerated into open conflict in December 2013, pitting Dinka forces controlled by the government against ethnic Nuer. Following fighting between government forces and defecting Nuer soldiers, ethnic Nuer people were subjected to targeted killings, house-to-house searches, mass arrests, unlawful detention, ill-treatment, and torture, Human Rights Watch said. In one of the worst incidents recorded, government forces rounded up between 200 and 400 Nuer men and massacred them in December 2013. Last April, opposition forces attacking Bentiu slaughtered hundreds of civilians, including in attacks on a mosque and hospital.

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