Genocide Watch has three levels of Genocide Alerts.
A Genocide Watch is declared when there are signs of the early stages of the genocidal process. See The Ten Stages of Genocide.
A Genocide Warning is called when the genocidal process has reached the stages of preparation by perpetrators and persecution of a targeted group.
A Genocide Emergency is declared when the genocidal process has reached the stage of genocidal massacres and other acts of genocide.
GENOCIDE WATCH: INDIA: KASHMIR
Genocide Watch is issuing a Genocide Alert for India Administered Kashmir.
On August 5, the Indian President revoked the Special Autonomous Status of India Administered Jammu and Kashmir under Articles 370 and 35A of the Constitution of India. India has over 600,000 troops in Kashmir. Movement of people and freedom of the press are restricted. India has cut off internet communications.
At the time of Indian and Pakistani independence in 1947, Jammu and Kashmir was a princely state with a majority of Hindus in Jammu and a majority of Muslims in Kashmir. During Partition, its Hindu Maharaja chose to remain independent. When Pashtun militias invaded from Pakistan, the Maharaja acceded to the Union of India and India airlifted in troops.
Fighting between Pakistani militias and Indian troops ensued. India took a dispute with Pakistan to the UN Security Council, which passed Resolution 47 of 1948. It called for withdrawal of Pakistani fighters and reduction of Indian troops in Jammu and Kashmir. It also called for a plebiscite to determine Jammu and Kashmir’s future. The plebiscite has never been held. India and Pakistan both assert sovereignty over Kashmir. They divide the territory along the “line of control.” They have fought three wars since independence. Both nations have nuclear weapons.
In 1984, Kashmiri Muslim youth began demonstrations for Kashmiri indigenous self-determination that were crushed by Indian armed forces. Riots destroyed Hindu properties in 1986; armed Muslim insurgents targeted Hindus in 1989; and in 1990, over 100,000 Hindu pandits fled from Kashmir. Human Rights Watch reported that 50,000 people were killed in Kashmir from 1989 to 2006. The Kashmir State Human Rights Commission has evidence of 2,730 bodies buried in 40 mass graves. The Commission reported over 8000 disappearances. The Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society said that by 2016, there were over 70,000 killings, most by Indian forces. Amnesty International reports that disappearances, torture and rape by Indian Army units against Kashmiri Muslims are common.
Applying Prof. Barbara Harff’s risk factors for genocide, the following are early warnings of massacres in Kashmir:
1. Prior genocidal massacres and continuing impunity for such killings;
2. Continued armed conflict between India and Pakistan over border areas in Kashmir;
3. An exclusionary ideology of “Hindutva” – India as Hindu nation – by Modi’s ruling BJP;
4. Authoritarian military rule without legal restraints imposed by civilian Indian officials;
5. Rule by a minority military force (Hindus and Sikhs) over majority Muslim citizens;
6. Cut-off of communications and outside access by internet, media, and trade;
7. Widespread violations of basic human rights – torture, rape, 2-year detentions without charge, arbitrary arrests and deportations of Muslim political and human rights leaders.
Genocide Watch’s Ten Stages of the genocidal process are also far advanced:
1. Classification: Hindu and Sikh Indian Army “us” vs. Kashmiri Muslim civilian “them;”
2. Symbolization: Muslims have Muslim names (on ID cards), Kashmiri language, dress, mosques;
3. Discrimination: Hindu pandits were economically dominant until 1990; BJP reasserted Hindu power;
4. Dehumanization: Muslims are called “terrorists”, “separatists,” “criminals,” “insurgents;”
5. Organization: 600,000 heavily armed Indian Army troops and police dominate Kashmir;
6. Polarization: Modi and the BJP incite anti-Muslim hatred; social media spread falsehoods;
7. Preparation: The Indian Army occupies Kashmir; BJP leaders speak of the “Final Solution” for Kashmir;
8. Persecution: Kashmiri Muslims are locked down, subject to arrest, torture, rape, and murder;
9: Extermination: Genocidal massacres occurred during Partition; since 1990, there have been at least 25 massacres with death tolls over 25: 10 of Muslims by Indian troops; 15 of Hindus by Muslim militants;
10. Denial: Modi and BJP say their goals are to “bring prosperity” and “end terrorism”; they deny any massacres. No Indian Army troops or police are ever tried for torture, rape or murder. Modi’s takeover is popular in India.
Genocide Watch calls upon the United Nations and its members to warn India not to commit genocide in Kashmir.
GENOCIDE WATCH: INDIA: ASSAM STATE
Genocide Watch has issued a Genocide Watch for Assam State, India, where millions of Bengali Muslims face losing citizenship status. A Genocide Watch is declared when early warning signs indicate that a genocidal process is underway.
Over seven million people in Assam State, mostly Muslims of Bengali descent, may lose their Indian citizenship and risk imprisonment in special “foreigner detention centers.” A process is now underway to “verify” the citizenship of all 32 million inhabitants of Assam state, which requires each person to affirmatively prove that they are Indian and not an “illegal migrant.” Beginning in colonial times, millions of ethnically Bengali Muslims settled in Assam. The 2011 Indian census put their number at 10.6 million in Assam state.
At the urging of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist central government, Assam is updating its master list of “citizens.” Those classified as Indian citizens will receive new Indian identity cards, symbolizing their classification. Anyone not on the final “citizen” list will be presumptively declared a “foreigner,” subject to statelessness and indefinite detention.
Assam’s Muslims are especially likely to be excluded from the “citizen” list as part of a decades-long pattern of discrimination. The word “foreigners” is a common term of dehumanization used to exclude targeted groups from citizenship and the exercise of their fundamental civil and human rights. The Home Minister of India has repeatedly referred to the Bengali Muslims as “termites.” Anti-Muslim propaganda has polarized the Assam population.
Assam’s Chief Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal, has requested additional Indian government troops and police to arrest “foreigners.” The Assam state is constructing ten new “foreigner” detention centers to add to the six prisons already in existence.
These are the classification, symbolization, discrimination, dehumanization, organization, and polarization stages of the genocidal process.
Like the Rohingya of Rakhine State in Myanmar, Bengali-speaking Muslims in Assam have faced constant discrimination. Assamese ethno-nationalist independence movements culminated in the Nellie massacre of between 1,800 and 3,000 ethnically Bengali Muslims in 1983.
At least 4.8 million citizenship applicants, mostly poor Muslims, do not have documentation -- which in many cases is missing after several generations. Another 2.9 million Muslim women can only provide a marriage certificate from their local government, which the authorities often dismiss as inadequate. The proposed Citizenship Amendment Bill would offer relief to some “foreigners,” but not to Muslims, blatant evidence of discrimination, which should be struck down by the Indian Supreme Court.
Anyone left off the “citizen” list will automatically be classified as an illegal “foreigner.” The Chief Minister of Assam has declared that “[t]he people who are declared foreigners will be barred from all constitutional rights, including fundamental and electoral.”
Muslims classified as “illegal foreigners” can challenge their classification before Indian government administrators and, ultimately, special “foreigners’ tribunals” – but they will be denied due process and will have no right to legal counsel. Those adjudged to be “foreigners” will be imprisoned in special “foreigner” detention centers.
This is a classic case of denial of citizenship in order to deprive a minority ethnic and religious group of its rights. It could become a prelude to another genocide like Myanmar’s genocide against its Rohingya Muslims. The parallels to the build-up to the Rohingya genocide are shocking.
Genocide Watch is issuing this Genocide Watch as an Early Warning of potential genocide. In Genocide Watch’s Ten Stages of Genocide the situation of Bengali Muslims in India’s Assam State is now at Stage Seven: Preparation. When Bengali Muslims in Assam are imprisoned in “foreigner” detention centers, the situation will move to Stage Eight: Persecution, the stage immediately preceding full genocide.
In July 2018, Genocide Watch petitioned the Chief Justice of India, Ranjan Gogoi, who is overseeing the citizenship verification process, to order that lists of citizens and “non-citizens” be classified as State Secrets never to be released to the public. Despite this warning, the lists have been made public. Numerous suicides have ensued.
Roundups of “foreigners” are likely to ignite genocidal massacres and a massive refugee crisis. If India imprisons Bengali Muslims in Assam, it will be violating its obligations under the UN Refugee Conventions. If it expels them from India, it will be perpetrating “forced displacement,” a crime against humanity. If genocidal massacres occur, India will violate its obligations to prevent genocide under the Genocide Convention.
Genocide Watch calls upon the UN Secretary General, the UN Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, and key UN member states to warn India not to strip citizenship from, imprison, and forcibly displace millions of Bengali Muslims, many of whom have lived their entire lives in Assam state, India.
Genocide warning: turkey/Syria/Iraq: turkish army, anatolia, afrin, sinjar, nineveh
Kurds are at risk of genocide by the regional powers of Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Syria, all of which have sizable Kurdish minority populations. Currently the largest threat comes from Turkey. On January 20, 2018 Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan launched cross-border military operations into northwestern Syria with the code name "Operation Olive Branch," The mission aimed to oust Syrian Kurdish People’s Protection Units (or YPG) from the district of Afrin. Turkey considers the YPG to be an extension of the Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK), which has been waging an insurgency within Turkey on and off since 1984 in the name of greater rights and regional autonomy. The YPG denies being an extension of the PKK and has been allied with the United States (among other countries) in the fight against the Islamic State/Da'esh since 2014.
The Turkish Armed Forces have conducted Operation Olive Branch with little apparent concern for the laws of war, dropping bombs and shelling towns indiscriminately. Hundreds of civilians around Afrin, including religious minorities displaced by the Syrian war and by Da'esh, have been killed. There is evidence that suggests that Turkish forces may have intentionally targeted civilians.
The Turkish government and media has characterized the YPG as a "terrorist organization," casting its invasion of Syria as an anti-terror operation. It has also referred to its aggression against its southern neighbor as "jihad," echoing language used by ISIS and other extremist elements. The term "terrorist" is used in Turkey as a catch-all phrase to dehumanize opponents and legitimize the suppression of human rights and freedoms. Since the attempted coup of 2015, the Turkish government has dismissed thousands of civil servants and jailed hundreds of teachers, professors, journalists, politicians, human rights workers and other cultural leaders for being suspected supporters of "the opposition." Many of these detainees have been charged with terrorism.; The term "terrorist" has also been used to justify military-style violence against the Kurdish minority populations in the country's South East, where the PKK presence is strong. The Afrin operation is not unlike "anti-terror" operations conducted in South East Turkey since 2015, where, in towns like Cizre, Turkish security forces have displaced much of the population, imposed harsh curfews (sometime lasting twenty-four hours a day for weeks and even months), cut off water and electricity supplies, killed dozens of civilians, destroyed cultural institutions (including mosques), and laid waste to homes by defecating on furniture and bedding, destroying cooking implements, and killing domestic and farm animals. Soldiers have also written racist slogans on buildings and have hung the Turkish flag from windows. In Cizre -- as in Afrin -- the bodies of killed female fighters have been mutilated, videotaped, and shared widely on social media.
In Syria, the Turkish military and the forces under its leadership (which may include Da'esh fighters), declared total control of Afrin on March 25, 2018. They have been accused of pursuing a policy of "demographic change" in the Afrin district by settling villages with Turkmen and Arab families originally from outside of the area. The majority of Afrin's population, an estimated 150,000 people, had already retreated from the town along with YPG fighters before the arrival of Turkish troops.. Recent reports from occupied Afrin tell of dozens of girls and young women being kidnapped by Turkish and jihadi forces and subjected to systematic rape. There are also reports of the forced conversion of Yazidis. Erdoğan has vowed to continue further east to Manbij and Kobane in Syria as well as to the Sinjar and Nineveh regions of Iraq, ostensibly to destroy the PKK, which has bases in Iraq's northern mountains. In the wake of a Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) referendum on independence in Northern Iraq in September 2017, which angered neighboring countries with significant Kurdish minority populations, and to which they responded with the harsh and coordinated economic isolation of the KRG, Turkey's aggression into neighboring states threatens the long-term security of all Kurdish populations in the region.
Genocide Emergency: Yemen: Saudi arabia, houthi rebels
Genocide Watch has issued a Genocide Emergency for Yemen. Yemen has been experiencing a bloody war between the Houthi rebels and supporters of Yemen's internationally recognized government, which the U.N. has described as "the worst man-made humanitarian crisis of our time." This strife began in 2004, when the relationship between Houthis and the Yemeni government began sliding towards war. Most of the subsequent fighting between the two groups had been kept within the Houthis' stronghold, northern Yemen's impoverished Saada province, until September 2014. However, in September 2014, the Houthis took control of Yemen's capital, Sanaa, and proceeded to push southwards towards the country's second-biggest city, Aden. In response to the Houthis' advances, a coalition of Arab states launched a military campaign in 2015 to defeat the Houthis and restore Yemen's government. As of March 26, 2018, at least 10,000 Yemenis have been directly killed by the fighting, with more than 40,000 direct casualties overall. Getting accurate information on the overall death toll caused by food shortages and the collapse of the country's health system is difficult, but Save the Children estimates at least 50,000 children died in 2017, an average of 130 every day. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights has estimated that Saudi-led coalition air attacks have caused almost two-thirds of the reported civilian deaths while the Houthis have been accused of causing mass civilian casualties due to their siege of Taiz, Yemen's third-largest city.
Genocide Emergency: Iraq: ISIS, Hashd al-shaabi, turkey
Genocide Watch continues to call a Genocide Emergency for Iraq, despite the recent defeat of ISIS on the battlefield. Since 2014, ISIS/Da'esh fighters have driven Christians and other minority national and religious groups from their ancestral homes in northern Iraq and have especially targeted the Yazidis as "devil worshipers." The United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Syria has called on the the international community to recognize the ongoing genocide against the Yazidis. Genocide Watch believes that ISIS/Da'esh, as a genocidal terrorist organization, has also committed genocide against Christians, Shabak Shia, Turkmen, Kurds, Kakay, and other groups. Despite the military defeat of ISIS in fall 2017, national and religious minorities continue to be victims of the brutal advance by the Islamic State. The regions of Nineveh and Sinjar are still unstable, having been taken over by Shi'a Hashd al-Shaabi militias connected to Iraq's central government and to neighboring Iran. IDPs from ISIS's genocidal violence continue to live in camps, where conditions are deteriorating. Out-migration from these small communities of peoples is very high. When ISIS captured the primarily Yazidi towns of Sinjar and Zumar in August 2014, it killed and kidnapped nearly 12,000 people and forced 250,000 to flee to the mountains without food or water. Over three thousand kidnapped Yazidi women and children are still missing. In the chaos created by competing fighting forces in regions liberated from ISIS, ISIS appears to be staging somewhat of a comeback, regularly attacking Iraqi and Hashd al-Shaabi officials in the city of Kirkuk, for example. If Turkey invades in Iraq, this could reopen the corridor with Syria and set the stage for an ISIS resurgence, placing minority IDPs in Kurdistan at risk. Kurds, who constitute 18 percent of Iraq's population, and Sunni Arabs, who constitute 15-20 percent, are also at risk -- from Turkey and from the Hashd al-Shaabi miliias respectively.
Genocide Emergency: Myanmar: ROHINGYA IN Rakhine STATE
The Rohingya are a Muslim ethnic minority of over one million people that lived in Rakhine state for centuries, where they faced systematic religious and ethnic discrimination. The Rohingya are not a legally recognized ethnic minority in Myanmar, and therefore are denied all the rights inherent in citizenship. During 2012, violence increased against Rohingya and other Muslims in Rakhine State. Rohingya were herded into camps and stripped of their ability to fish or grow food, and to obtain health care or education.
In August 2017, the Myanmar armed forces, known as Tatmadaw, undertook a massive, coordinated campaign of genocide and forced displacement against the Rohingya. The Myanmar government portrays the genocide as retaliation for an attack on Myanmar security forces by a Rohingya insurgent group that killed a dozen Burmese soldiers. More than 760,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh, bringing the number of Rohingya refugees there to over a million. More than 120,000 have fled to Malaysia, Myanmar has destroyed over 500 Rohingya villages and plans to settle non-Muslims where Rohingya lived.
Genocide Watch: Burundi
Since its independence from Belgium in 1962, there have been sporadic bursts of ethnic violence between the Hutu majority and Tutsi minority in Burundi, resulting in genocide against the majority Hutus in 1972 and 1993, and civil war from 1993 to 2005, which took the lives of an estimated 300,000 people. Mass civil unrest erupted again in Burundi in 2015, following the 26th of April announcement by the ruling party Conseil National Pour la Défense de la Démocratie – Forces pour la Défense de la Démocratie (CNDD-FDD) that President Pierre Nkurunziza would run for a third term in the 2015 elections. Opposition parties in Burundi claim that this is a direct violation of the 2000 Arusha Peace Agreement and the Burundi Constitution, which limits presidents to two terms in office. Since then, here have been waves of fighting between the government and opposition groups, as well as targeted political assassinations of opposition leaders and door-to-door summary executions of young men. There are an estimated 430,000 Burundians currently in exile as a consequence of this violence and the escalation of hate speech from the Nkurunziza government. While the current conflict is primarily political in nature, it continues to ignite existing ethnic cleavages.
Boko Haram (literally translated as “Western Education is a Sin”) is a genocidal criminal movement led by Islamist extremists Abubakar Shekau and Abu Musab al-Barnawi, who control different and often antagonistic groups within the larger umbrella organization. Boko Haram has vowed to destroy every Christian school in Nigeria, and to carry out terrorist attacks on Nigerian government police and government officials. In 2105 Shekau pledged the allegiance of Boko Haram to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Since then the group is also known as the Islamic State in West Africa (ISWA), though since ISIS's military defeat in Iraq in 2017, the ties between the two groups appear to have weakened considerably.
Boko Haram is best known for having kidnapped 276 girls from a Christian school in Chibok in April 2014. However, Boko Haram has preyed on children since 2013, when it launched a series of attacks against schoolchildren that killed dozens of boys. UNICEF estimates that Boko Haram has kidnapped more than 1,000 children in northeastern Nigeria since 2013. Through the efforts of the Nigerian government and international pressure, many of the captives have been returned, including dozens of the Chibok girls as well as 104 of the 110 girls abducted from the government secondary school in Dapchi in February 2018. In May 2018 the Nigerian government claimed to have rescued 1000 Boko Haram prisoners, mostly women and children, as part of a regional anti-Boko Haram task force involving forces from Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Benin and Niger.
In 2014, Boko Haram killed an estimated 6,000 people in its jihad to expand its self-declared Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria, an area with a heavy Muslim population. In 2105 it killed over 4000 people, including 2,000 of the residents of the town of Baga in the northeastern state of Borno on January 7. The death toll has decreased since then, with over 900 people killed by Boko Haram in 2017. Overall it is estimated that the conflict between Boko Haram and the Nigerian government has taken the lives of 20,000 to 40,000 people since 2009. An estimated 2.3 million people have been displaced as a result of the fighting, with 250,000 fleeing to neighboring Cameroon, Chad and Niger.
While Boko Haram once controlled up to six times more territory than the Islamic State, the region under its control is believed to have decreased substantially as the Nigerian military continues to assault it bases. Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has also entered into negotiations with the group for a cease-fire. Nevertheless, Boko Haram continues to be a considerable threat to peace and stability in northern Nigeria, as well as in neighboring Cameroon, Niger, and Chad, where the insurgency has spread.
Genocide Emergency: Central African Republic
Genocide Watch has issued a Genocide Emergency for the Central African Republic. Continuing violence between Christian majority (anti-Balaka) and Muslim minority (Seleka) militias, has been genocidal because victims are targeted for their religious identity. Seleka militias that began the killing when Michael Djotodia seized power have now been driven back by French and African Union forces. Djotodia has fled. Muslims are escaping to Chad, but are being pulled from vehicles by Christian anti-Balaka gangs. Hundreds of thousands of people have been driven from their homes. The shortage of adequate food, water, and shelter has created a humanitarian crisis. Peacekeeping forces must remain in the country until people can return to their homes, with security provided by a transitional government.
Genocide Emergency: Myanmar: Kachin
Fighting in Myanmar’s Kachin state pits the Kachin Independence Army (KIA) and its majority Christian population against the Burmese Buddhist government. Ethnic Shan in Kachin State have also been displaced. In June 2011, a 17 year peace agreement was shattered and fighting between the KIA and Burmese government has been non-stop since. Human Rights Watch estimates that since the fighting began again, over 75,000 Kachin have been displaced, and attacks include raids on villages, rapes, and murders. A January 19, 2013 ceasefire agreement was broken by the government, and February 2013 peace talks were also unsuccessful at ending the violence.
Genocide Emergency: Somalia
Genocide Watch has issued a Genocide Emergency for Somalia. Complex civil conflicts, along with devastating periods of drought over the past two decades have left the Republic of Somalia a failed state. The UNDP deems Somalia the world’s “worst humanitarian disaster.” Somalia’s instability has led to mass atrocities and human rights violations against the civilian population, being committed by all major parties involved in the conflict, especially by Al-Shabaab insurgents, Transitional Federal Government (TFG) forces, and intervening Ethiopian military forces. Therefore, Genocide Watch places Somalia at Stage 9 on the 10 Stages of Genocide and issues a Genocide and Mass Atrocities Alert.
Genocide Emergency: south Sudan
Genocide Watch has issued a Genocide Emergency for the region of South Sudan. The current situation in South Sudan is marked by famine, destabilization, and war, to dismantle the violent kleptocratic system that is driving suffrage of the South Sudanese people. Much of the conflict in South Sudan centers around the politicization of difference, leading to a growing animosity between the Dinka and the Nuer groups.The competing kleptocratic factions are fighting over the control of the state, which brings about control over natural resources revenues, the army, foreign exchange, massive corruption opportunities, immunity from prosecution and accountability, and the opportunity to manipulate government contracts. The South Sudanese have been subject to rape and sexual violence, looting of villages, and recruitment efforts for child soldiers. There have been tens of thousands of people have been killed on both sides and more than 1.6 million have been internally displaced. As of February 2017, a man-made famine had been declared throughout South Sudan caused by civil war and economic collapse. Therefore, Genocide Watch places South Sudan at Stage 9 of Genocide and issues a Genocide and Mass Atrocities Alert.
Genocide Emergency: Sudan
Genocide Watch has issued a Genocide Emergency for the regions of South Kordofan, Blue Nile and Darfur in the Republic of Sudan. Similar to Darfur, South Kordofan and Blue Nile have suffered from long-term political and economic marginalization.Genocide and other atrocities in these regions are the result of the Sudan regime’s policy to transform Sudan into an Islamic Arab State. The conflict in South Kordofan and Blue Nile is between the Sudanese Armed Forces (SAF) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North (SPLM-N) The conflicts in South Kordofan and Blue Nile have left 1.2 million people internally displaced since June 2011, and another 246,500 have taken refuge in South Sudan and Ethiopia. The most recent genocide in Darfur began in 2003, when the Sudanese government and Arab militias (Janjaweed) destroyed over 400 villages, allegedly in response to two opposition groups: the Sudan Liberation Army (SLA) and the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM). The genocide in Darfur has killed at least 450,000 people since 2003.
Genocide Emergency: Syria
Genocide Watch has issued a Genocide Emergency alert for the continuing crisis in Syria. Both the Syrian state and at least three other groups are committing genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes daily. All criminal entities must be defeated militarily and their leaders should be tried for their crimes, including: the al-Assad regime and its allied militias; Syrian Opposition Forces; and ISIS/Da'esh, sometimes called the Islamic State.