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The Canadian response to the situation of the Rohingya in Myanmar

The World Federalists have supported the progressive development of the Responsibility to Protect normative framework and the implementation of R2P principles. (Recent articles and posts about R2P are available elsewhere on the website.)

As such, we are grateful that Canada identified a Special Envoy to Myanmar and has recently increased by $12 million the assistance provided to address the humanitarian and security crisis in that country. As well, the Government of Canada recently announced targeted sanctions against Major-General Maung Maung Soe, under the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act, as a result of the significant role played by him in human rights violations against the Rohingya and in the violence and persecution that has forced so many Rohingya to flee the country

Clearly there is a need for member states at the United Nations to do more. Current actions, such as the resolution that emerged from the UN’s Third Committee this fall, do little more than condemn the violations of international law.

A return by those forcibly displaced from Rakhine state will not happen unless the refugees have the assurance that it is safe to do so. A UN force in the area is needed to provide the Rohingya with the security they require. We believe Canada has the opportunity to show leadership by bringing such a proposal to the UN for approval.

The Security Council has not addressed the Rohingya crisis because China and Russia are opposed to the UN intervening into the internal affairs of a country. Discussion and diplomacy in the General Assembly, perhaps as a prelude to an Emergency Special Session could also contribute to the diplomatic effort to modify the policies and behaviour of the government of Myanmar.

Press releases from the Canadian government on this issue can be found on the Global Affairs Canada website.

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