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Abstract

Myanmar and Sri Lanka are both countries with strong histories of Buddhism engrained in their political systems. Conflicts between Buddhist nationalist groups and Rohingya have led to ethnic cleansing and genocide. Buddhist nationalist groups view Islam as a threat to their nation. This is rooted in a cosmological belief that Buddhism will be wiped out in the “dark ages.” In both countries there are risk factors preceding genocide, preventative action that could have been taken, and appropriate ways to approach a post-genocidal country. Risk factors including social exclusion, economic expropriation, and state sponsored violence cause social fragmentation and democratic backsliding. The UN conducted a fact-finding mission in September of 2018 that determined the conflict in Myanmar met the criteria of genocide. This paper explores risk factors in Myanmar and Sri Lanka, then follows up with possible preventative action and appropriate responses in the wake of genocide.

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