Rwanda and the Rohingya

Learning the Wrong Lessons?

In: Journal of International Peacekeeping
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  • 1 Political Science and Genocide Studies, Yale University

The 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda led the United Nations and global civil society to attempt to reinvent the international atrocity prevention regime. The advent of the doctrine of the Responsibility to Protect was to supposed to represent a new-found dedication to the goal of preventing mass atrocities and to intervene to stop them when they do break out. However, the situation of the Rohingya in Myanmar, who have been subject to years of persecution, ethnic cleansing, and – since 2017 – many elements of genocide, suggests that there has been more continuity than change. Rather, many of the same issues that plagued the global response to Rwanda are problematic again with respect to the Rohingya. This essay examines both the promise of change in the global anti-atrocity regime after Rwanda as well as the shortcomings that continue to plague the international response to atrocity.

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