The Canadian Government Needs to Start Accepting More Rohingya Refugees

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The Rohingya people are one of the most persecuted groups in the entire world, being denied citizenship and basic human rights by Myanmar’s government. They are routinely killed, raped, and denied food, housing, and supplies due to their religious identity, which is unacceptable and needs to be stopped. The Canadian government has done a great job resettling Syrian refugees in the past few years, however, we can do more. It is time for the Canadian government to take a stand against Aung San Suu Kyi’s passive enabling of a modern-day genocide and pledge to accept Rohingya refugees.

According to the UNHCR, In Bangladesh, in the past few months alone, "More than 70,000 Rohingya new arrivals are believed to have fled a security operation between October 2016 and February 2017." 

And according to ReliefWeb, "As of March 2017, an estimated 100,000 undocumented Myanmar nationals are living in Kuthupalong, Leda and Balukhali makeshift settlements, with many more in host communities in Ukiah and Teknaf Upazilas of Cox’s Bazar District." These people live with no identity or way to make a life for themselves or their families, even after leaving Myanmar, where they are denied citizenship. And although, "Humanitarian assistance, including shelter, food, water and sanitation, nutrition, education and health, is being provided to people residing in both makeshift settlements and refugee camps." The Bangladesh government can only do so much. 

And time is running out. On top of the estimated 100 000 refugees living in those areas, there are an estimated total of over 300 000 Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh that have emigrated there from Myanmar since the 1990's. Now, the Bangladesh government is proposing relocating these refugees to makeshift camps on an isolated island off Bangladesh's coast, called Thengar Char island, which is usually submerged underwater during monsoon season, which lasts from June to October. 

And with Myanmar's government denying the UN's claims that 'Crimes Against Humanity' are being committed against Rohingya peoples living in Myanmar, the claims of the UN's special rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, are falling on the Myanmar government's deaf ears. In fact, earlier this month, Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's de facto leader, rejected a decision by the UN's rights council to investigate allegations of crimes by Burma's security forces against minority Rohingya Muslims. 

So, what should be done? Well, Canada actually has already has had success settling Rohingya refugees. Ahmed Hashim Ullah is a Rohingyan refugee living in Kitchener-Waterloo. He has recently worked with a number of other Rohingya refugee youth to develop the play I Am Rohingya. Ullah serves as but one example of the many success stories Canada could create by helping what the UNHCR and many others have referred to as, "The most persecuted minority in the world." So please, sign this petition to help more people like Ahmed, who just want citizenship and a life for themselves, and give them a chance to be successful in Canada, a country that will actually acknowledge their right to life and human dignity.

 



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