Bob Rae, special envoy to Myanmar, holds a press conference in the foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, October 23, 2017.

Bob Rae, special envoy to Myanmar, holds a press conference in the foyer of the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Monday, October 23, 2017.
Photo Credit: PC / Sean Kilpatrick

Canada’s envoy to Myanmar issues interim report on Rohingya crisis

Share

Canada’s special envoy to Myanmar says it’s hard to put into words the extent of the humanitarian crisis facing the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Bob Rae issued his interim report on Thursday night on the crisis that has seen more than 650,000 of Rohingyas flee the predominantly Buddhist Myanmar, also known as Burma, to neighbouring Bangladesh following a crackdown by Burmese security forces.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appointed the veteran Liberal politician and former Ontario premier in October to give him advice on the humanitarian crisis, which the United Nations has described as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”

Rae said he travelled to Indonesia, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Vietnam, and the UN headquarters in New York earlier this year to see the situation and has also met with a number of leaders, officials and non-governmental organizations in the region.

A police officer stands in a house that was burnt down during the days of violence in Maungdaw, Myanmar August 30, 2017.
A police officer stands in a house that was burnt down during the days of violence in Maungdaw, Myanmar August 30, 2017. © Soe Zeya Tun

However, Rae noted that he was not allowed to travel to Rakhine State in Myanmar, where most of the Rohingyas used to live, and where about 120,000 Rohingyas remain in camps “under virtual lockdown.”

He also visited the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, near the border with Myanmar.

“It is important to stress that conditions are deplorably overcrowded and pose a threat to human health and life itself,” Rae wrote.

The Rohingya walked for days to escape Myanmar and arrived in Bangladesh malnourished and traumatized, he said.

Rohingya refugees walk on the muddy path after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Teknaf, Bangladesh, September 3, 2017.
Rohingya refugees walk on the muddy path after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Teknaf, Bangladesh, September 3, 2017. © Mohammad Ponir Hossain

“In addition to accounts of shooting and military violence, I also heard directly from women of sexual violence and abuse at the hands of the Myanmar military, and the death of children and the elderly on the way to the camps,” Rae wrote.

Rae said those accounts included sexual violence as a weapon of war and there is clear evidence of sexual trauma among the women who survived.

“A focused effort to deal with this issue is required,” the report said.

“Seeing these words in print makes me realize how inadequate words are to express the extent of the damage and trauma being suffered by women and girls among the Rohingya refugees.”

Rae said the international community must get involved in addressing the issue and additional resources will be required.

“These allegations of crimes against humanity need to be addressed directly by the international community, and there is a need for post-traumatic measures to help those who survived this ordeal.”

Canada needs to remain engaged as well, he said.

“We have been publicly associated with the peace process, with the dialogue on governance and pluralism, and with a number of other critical issues, and this engagement needs to continue,” Rae wrote. “This requires that we be respectful of the full range of opinions in Myanmar, and within Myanmar civil society, but it should never mean that we abandon our commitment to the truth about what has happened.”

With files from The Canadian Press

Share
Tagged with: , , ,
Posted in International

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*

2 comments on “Canada’s envoy to Myanmar issues interim report on Rohingya crisis
  1. Avatar Paul Smithe says:

    I am in Myanmar right now. Talking to locals, its a totally different story than the western media spin. This is yet another cash grab, for a bogus problem that tax payers will be on the hook for. I was here when the ‘conflict’ started and it was extremists from Bangladesh trying to convert Buddhists into Muslims, and killing people that didn’t convert, so they fought back. They are booting out these extremists so that peaceful Buddhists can live in their own country. What country lets foreign extremist murderers stay in their country? Give it up cash cow grabbing story tellers… its just too bad no one understands whats really going on here.

  2. Avatar Nurun Nabi says:

    Bob, to day Myanmar has barred UN envoy Yanghee lee to visit Myanmar. I sincerely hope you continue search for peace for Myanmar Rohyangas. Dont give up.