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Scorched Earth: The Rohingya Crisis Explained
The Rohingya are an ethnic group of over one million, the majority of whom are Muslim. The Rohingya have lived for centuries in majority Buddhist Myanmar. Until most Rohingya fled to Bangladesh, the large majority of Rohingya lived in the western coastal state of Rakhine. Particularly in recent decades, the Rohingya have been systematically persecuted through violence and discriminatory laws, and even excluded from Myanmar citizenship. Since August 2017, approximately 700,000 Rohingya have fled ongoing violence and persecution to Bangladesh. This event will describe the current situation of the Rohingya in Myanmar and abroad and discus ongoing global and local responses to the crisis.
Join us for a discussion with Brad Adams, Asia Director at Human Rights Watch, and David Cohen, Director of the WSD Handa Center for Human Rights & International Justice at Stanford University to learn about how the current crisis came to be and what can be done about it.
Brad Adams, executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division since 2002, oversees the organization’s work on human rights issues in twenty countries, from Afghanistan to the Pacific. At Human Rights Watch, he has worked on a wide range of issues including freedom of expression, protection of civil society and human rights defenders, counterterrorism, refugees, gender and religious discrimination, armed conflict, and impunity. He has written for publications including the New York Times, Washington Post, Guardian, Foreign Affairs, and Wall Street Journal.
David Cohen is a leading expert in the fields of human rights, international law and transitional justice. Cohen taught at UC Berkeley from 1979-2012 as the Ancker Distinguished Professor for the Humanities,and served as the founding Director of the Berkeley War Crimes Studies Center, which moved to Stanford at the end of 2013 and became the WSD Handa Center for Human Rights and International Justice. Cohen's work had largely focused on contemporary tribunals and transitional justice initiatives. Cohen has led justice sector reform initiatives and tribunal monitoring programs in Indonesia, East Timor, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Rwanda, and Cambodia. At the regional level, Cohen has worked closely with the ASEAN Secretariat and the USAID Technical Facility to the ASEAN Secretariat in forming and leading an expert group to create a Human Rights Resource Center for ASEAN. Cohen is currently working on a project in Indonesia that focuses on the increasing use of blasphemy laws to suppress or discriminate against minorities and marginalized groups.