Activists, diplomats, tell senators action needed to end Rohingya crisis

News release

The Standing Senate Committee on Human Rights

Activists, diplomats, tell senators action needed to end Rohingya crisis

September 28, 2017


The following are excerpts from testimony the committee heard on Wednesday:

 “A 48-year-old man told us of the attack against his village of Yae Twin Kyun on 8 September: ‘When the military came, they started shooting at people who got very scared and started running. I saw the military shoot many people and kill two young boys. They used weapons to burn our houses. There used to be 900 houses in our village, now only 80 are left. There is no one left to even bury the bodies.”

 -Alex Neve, Secretary General, Amnesty International Canada

 “There are two common threads here: a governing regime that attempts to win support by turning the population against a demonized ‘other’ and a military that responds to any resistance by unleashing scorched earth tactics targeted against civilians. What you are seeing in Burma today is nothing new for people who live there. What is new is that it is now being conducted under an elected government.”

-Kevin Malseed, Burma Specialist, Inter Pares

 “Refugees are pouring across the border into Bangladesh bringing stories of murder, rape and devastation… Such new influx is an unbearable burden for Bangladesh as it has been hosting around half a million Rohingya refugees who left Myanmar in several rounds in the past owing to military operations. Bangladesh cannot be the repeated victim of violence and instability in Myanmar… Myanmar has to stop the violence against innocent people and will have to take back the Rohingyas who have entered Bangladesh.”

-H.E. Mizanur Rahman, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Canada

 “Canada should call the persecution of the Rohingya what it is: Genocide.”

-Ahmed Ramadan, Burma Task Force

 “Some 430,000 Rohingya have been forced to flee to Bangladesh, the vast majority are young children and women. Tens of thousands of others have been displaced and are stranded inside the country. The Rohingya death toll at the hands of the Myanmar army and machete-wielding Buddhist vigilantes runs into thousands.”

-Anwar Arkani, Rohingya Association of Canada

 “In debating the next steps on the Rohingya crisis, the Government of Canada should focus primarily on the military, and consider what measures might best impact its behaviour. The time has come for real consequences: sanctions and punishments that will impose practical and financial costs on Burma’s senior military command.”

-Farida Deif, Human Rights Watch

 The committee will continue its hearings into the Rohingya crisis on Monday, October 2.  

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For more information, please contact:

Sonia Noreau
Public Relations Officer (Communications)
Senate of Canada
613-614-1180 |
sonia.noreau@sen.parl.gc.ca