Canadian Government: Help the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar!
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The Rohingya in Myanmar have been described by the United Nations as one of the world’s most persecuted people. In the UN Human Rights Report released in July 2015, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called for an end to the violations occurring in Myanmar. One year later the situation has not changed. The latest United Nations Human Rights Report, released on June 28, 2016, describes the state of the Rohingya (A/HR32/18) as dire and in need of immediate attention from the international community. Rohingya are denied citizenship, medical care, and the ability to attain jobs. Moreover, they are subjected to harsh living conditions and have their movements restricted. In addition, Rohingya are often not accepted by neighbouring and other countries.
As violence against the Rohingya has recently escalated within the past few months, immediate alleviation, particularly in the form of resettlement is needed. Since early October 2016, the Myanmar army launched a crackdown after unidentified men, who are claimed to be Rohingya, killed 9 border officers on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. According to Al Jazeera, since then, dozens of Rohingya have been killed and the UN estimates that 30,000 Rohingya have fled the violence, with some refugees accusing the Myanmar army of committing human rights atrocities, including torture, rape, and murder. Also in response to the recent violence, a UN official recently claimed that the Rohingya in Myanmar are being ethnically cleansed. Systematic human rights abuses have occurred in Myanmar towards the Rohingya for a long time, and the recent uptake of violence since October is deeply troubling.
In 2007, when Canada became the first country to resettle Rohingya from refugee camps in Bangladesh, it also became an international leader in the resettlement of Rohingya refugees. Shortly after, several other developed nations followed Canada’s lead. Between 2006 and 2010, Canada began resettling over 300 Rohingya refugees in British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec. Canada’s great capacity to take in refugees has recently been demonstrated as over 39,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Canada since November 2015. However, the resettlement of Rohingya refugees to Canada remains in the hundreds, despite being one of the most persecuted groups of people in the world.
Since 2012, Canada has made a commitment to developing strong relations with Myanmar through increased trade and development support. Additionally, Canada has provided support to civil society organizations in Myanmar. Recently, Canada announced a $44 million investment in a program that supports Myanmar in developing inclusive government and providing opportunities for the most vulnerable in Myanmar. However, the Rohingya have received minimal benefits from Canada’s aid; this aid is not enough, as the Rohingya remain an ostracized group in Myanmar and are in need of help.
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