The Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar – October 1, 2017

The Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar – October 1, 2017


Bob Rae, Canada’s special envoy to Myanmar, has released his final report on what Canada and the international community can do about the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh.

Titled “Tell them we’re human”, the report outlines 17 recommendations as to how the government and allies can provide assistance and accountability. An estimated 700,000 refugees have fled from Rakhine state in Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh since August 2017.

Rae’s report recommends Canada should focus on “providing humanitarian assistance, education, supporting infrastructure, and mitigating the impact of the violent deportation on Rohingya women and girls” with a multi-year plan.

It also recommends:

    • economic sanctions against individuals and companies involved in breaches of international humanitarian laws, including the UN Convention of Genocide;
    • funding for peace and reconciliation initiatives;
    • welcoming Rohingya refugees to Canada and other allied countries;
    • and establishing an international working group to coordinate policy and programs to address the Rohingya crisis.

The federal government has said it will take time to assess the recommendations and outline a plan for further measures. The government has already contributed $45.9 million dollars for humanitarian assistance on this issue since 2017.

In October, the government appointed Bob Rae to the role of special envoy to Myanmar. In his first report in December, Rae highlighted the how the crisis has disproportionately affected Rohingya women, who have been subjected to sexual violence and abuse by the Myanmar military. Rae is set to return to region in the next month before releasing his final report.

In December, Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau announced the final tally for the Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund, a program where the government will match the $12.5 million donated by Canadians registered charities. With this matching donation, the government will have committed more than $37.5 million in 2017 to help those affected by the crisis.

The Rohingya Crisis in Myanmar – October 1, 2017

This week on Perspective with Alison Smith: The Rohingya crisis in Myanmar.

Alison speaks to Poppy McPherson, a journalist based in Yangon, Myanmar, about the recent torrent of violence in Rakhine state and the conditions in the refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Anwar Arkani, founder and president of the Rohingya Association of Canada, shares the tragic stories the Canadian Rohingya community are hearing from back home and pleads with the current Canadian government and international community to do more address the situation.

Azeem Ibrahim, senior fellow at the Center for Global Policy and author of “The Rohingyas: Inside Myanmar’s Hidden Genocide”, speaks to Alison about the history of persecution the Rohingya have endured and describes Aung San Suu Kyi’s role in the current conflict as “a shield between the military and the international community.”

Alison speaks to Matthew Smith, Executive Director of Fortify Rights, a human rights organization in Southeast Asia, about human rights abuses the group has documented recently in the country’s Rakhine state.