Noting Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s possible culpability, Mr. Ba added, “We should, however, be careful not to attribute these crimes solely to the Myanmar’s military junta.”
Mr. Blinken said the Biden administration would continue to provide humanitarian aid to Rohingya refugees, the majority of whom have fled to neighboring Bangladesh, and would send $1 million to a U.N. fact-finding mission that is gathering evidence on Myanmar’s worst cases of atrocities since 2011.
American investigators conducted their own inquiry into the violence, interviewing more than 1,000 refugees who reported widespread and systematic attacks. More than half of the Rohingya interviewed witnessed sexual assaults, and three-quarters said they saw killings at the hands of the military. One of every five Rohingya interviewed witnessed a mass casualty event, where more than 100 people were killed or injured, Mr. Blinken said, citing the report.
“The evidence also points to a clear intent behind these mass atrocities — the intent to destroy Rohingya,” Mr. Blinken said.
The State Department stopped short of declaring the Myanmar atrocities to be genocide when it released the findings in 2018, in part to maintain an alliance with the government and keep neighboring China off balance in the region. More than two years later, at the end of the Trump administration, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared the systemic abuse and detention of Muslim Uyghurs in the Xinjiang region of China to be an act of genocide.
The Biden administration has also resisted declaring atrocities in Ethiopia’s northern Tigray province to be a genocide, although Mr. Blinken has warned of cases of ethnic cleansing against civilians there. And just last week, Mr. Blinken said he believed that war crimes had been committed by Russian forces in their invasion of Ukraine but said investigators still had not concluded that officially.
Still, Mr. Blinken mentioned both conflicts on Monday. Shortly after his speech, the State Department also announced that it had designated Sudan’s Central Reserve Police as a human rights violator after accusations of rape, torture and other abuses against pro-democracy protesters surfaced starting late last year, including as recently as last week.