June 10, 2022

Despite Ukraine, we must not forget other atrocities

Originally published in Straight Arrow News

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues with the torture and killing of civilians. While the U.S. looks to hold Putin accountable for what President Biden called a “genocide,” other atrocities across the world persist. Straight Arrow News contributor Katherine Zimmerman reminds us not to forget the victims — and their perpetrators:

The Chinese government is engaged in ongoing genocide and crimes against humanity targeting Uyghur Muslims and other minorities in Xinjiang province. 

A genocide also occurred in Myanmar, which the United States formally recognized in March 2022, declaring the Burmese military’s actions against the Rohingya minority a genocide. The Rohingya people, a mostly Muslim ethnic group, have faced persecution for several decades in the majority Buddhist country.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2019 for ending a 20-year conflict with neighboring Eritrea. Yet during Ethiopia’s recent civil war, fought in the Tigray region in northern Ethiopia and bordering Eritrea, gross human rights violations have occurred, perpetrated by all parties to the conflict. 

In Syria, the Assad regime has used chemical weapons, specifically chlorine gas, against civilians in addition to indiscriminate aerial bombardments on civilian locations during the civil war.

The Russian state-sponsored private military contractor known as the Wagner Group has worked in certain African countries to assist autocratic governments in cracking down on opposition groups and supporting counterterrorism operations. 

These are only a handful of examples across the world. Holding perpetrators accountable, especially the heads of states, is difficult. Few, if any, will be tried and convicted at the International Criminal Court.

The images of these conflicts fade from memory and slip from our consciousness. New snapshots of violence replace the old, and the world moves on. The role of human rights in America’s foreign policy is unique. The United States must continue to seek justice for all victims of human rights atrocities worldwide.