By Barry Ellsworth
The special envoy investigating the plight of the Rohingya Muslims issued a report Tuesday that encouraged Canada to accept refugees displaced by persecution in Myanmar.
The report by former Ontario premier and Toronto MP Bob Rae, also recommended sanctions and prosecution against those in Myanmar who are behind the crisis that has forced Rohingya to flee for their lives to Bangladesh.
There is proof “to support the charge that crimes against humanity have been committed,” the report stated.
Rae, who was appointed special envoy by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, traveled extensively in the region in February and released his report at a news conference in Ottawa.
He visited Bangladesh refugee camps, where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya are living in deplorable conditions.
While he was refused permission by Myanmar officials to go to Rakhine State, the home territory of the Rohingya, Rae said he saw enough of the wanton destruction of villages to convince him of the persecution.
“Words cannot convey the extent of the humanitarian crisis people currently face in
Bangladesh and Myanmar,” the report stated. “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 of the deaths of children and the elderly on the way to the camps.”
Rae made 17 recommendations to help ease the plight of the Rohingya who have been called the most persecuted group on the globe.
They included that “Canada should signal a willingness to welcome refugees from the Rohingya community” from Myanmar and Bangladesh and also encourage other countries to do the same.
Myanmar officials should also help the Rohingya return home, but under close scrutiny so the refugees would be safe from the military and mobs in Myanmar that is predominately a Buddhist country.
Rae also suggested countries, including Canada, should hit “targeted economic sanctions” those who are behind the violence.
“Canada should be actively working with like-minded countries to identify the individuals or parties that should be subject to sanctions,” he wrote. “Canada should also continue its arms embargo and should seek a wider ban on the shipment of arms to Myanmar.”
Another recommendation is to prosecute those who have caused “the forcible and violent displacement of more than 671,000 Rohingya from Rakhine State in Myanmar.”
While Canada has already committed more than CAN$45 million in aid to the Rohingya, Rae suggested more was needed and CAN$150 million be given in the next four years.
He said Canada should raise the crisis at the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in London later this month, as well next month at the G7 summit in Canada.
The Canadian government will review the report and decide on what action to take.
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012
Since Aug. 25, 2017, more than 750,000 refugees, mostly children and women, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to Amnesty International.
At least 9,000 Rohingya were killed in Rakhine state from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, according to Doctors Without Borders. In a report published on Dec. 12, 2017, the global humanitarian organization said the deaths of 71.7 percent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.
The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.