The Virginia Holocaust Museum was founded to educate the public on the dangers of intolerance. While we use the Holocaust as a framework to discuss the complex issues of discrimination and ethnicity, we strive to keep our message current. The following are regions where genocidal massacres or crimes against humanity are taking place or might take place in the near future:
The United States famously labeled the “scorched-earth” policies in Darfur genocide, yet the international community did little to respond. The crisis continues today as 2.6 million people live as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and 250,000 Darfuri are living in refugee camps in neighboring Chad. The region is patrolled by a hybrid AU/UN peacekeeping force, but they continue to be poorly funded, under-manned, and harried by Janjaweed militias.
In January of 2011, South Sudan won its independence after decades of Civil War between the North and South. Unfortunately, the two states continue to wrestle with issues of territory and natural resources. The Abyei and South Kordofan/Nuba Mountain regions have seen increased attacks from the Khartoum government of Sudan, displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians.
Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir is currently wanted by the International Criminal Court for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. His northern government continues to plan attacks against civilians in the border regions and Darfur. Over the last few months, revenue-sharing efforts between the two countries have broken down and the international community is once again worried that the region will rupture into war.
Following the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, former Interahamwe (militia groups) and Hutu Rwandan military forces fled into the Eastern portion of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) to escape capture and prosecution. The groups created a humanitiarian crisis and fueled an unstable environment that resulted in decades of conflict.
After two large scale multi-national wars in the region, the country continues to struggle with the presence of dozens of independent militia groups and a lack of stability. These militia groups are now fighting for control of the mines in the Eastern DRC where the world’s electronic minerals are found.
Since 1996, the DRC has earned a reputation for being the “rape capital of the world.” At present, nearly 6 million people have been killed and 2.5 million are living as displaced persons.
The conflict in the DRC is complex and difficult to understand. This map from the Rift Valley Institute helps illustrate the myriad of rebel groups operating in the region. The Carole Weinstein Holocaust Research Library provides an expanding research guide covering the DRC crisis.
In early 2011, a pro-democracy Syrian movement began holding protests in Homs and Hama. The demonstrations were peaceful at first but eventually the government moved to quash them with violence. Syrian forces continue to respond to the movement aggressively and a number of military officials have defected to form an armed resistance within the country.
By the end of 2011, the United Nations reported that the Syrian military forces were responsible for the death of over 7,500 civilians, including 300 children, and a number of military officials are now being investigated for crimes against humanity. Genocide Watch reports that the al-Assad regime is committing "indiscriminant, widespread attacks on civilians, arbitrary detention of thousands in the political opposition, rape of detainees, widespread torture- including torture and murder of children- and denial of food, medicines and other essential resources to civilians."
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If you would like further information on any of these conflicts please contact Timothy Hensley.