Heather Hurlburtwas quoted in a Vox article about why labeling genocide and ethnic cleaning is important.
But even applying the words “ethnic cleansing” to the problem would set the stage for the United States to trigger a new round of sanctions against the regime, sanctions that had been in place until the very end of the Obama administration. Using the term, explains Heather Hurlburt, a director at New America, would “set the stage for Trump’s Asia trip next week with the perception that the US sides with UN officials (who have used the term) against not just Myanmar but other Asian governments that have not.”
It would also, she adds, be a flag to the global community that new sanctions are coming. “Ethnic cleansing,” she continues, “though not itself having formal international legal status, can be construed as a crime against humanity or evidence of genocide.”
What that may mean is that there will be a growing pressure internationally to recognize responsibilities under international law to protect and defend the innocent and persecuted.