Myanmar—Support for Rohingya RefugeesPublished on 28 September 2017 Hansard and Statements by Senator Mobina Jaffer
Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer (Acting Deputy Leader of the Independent Senate Liberals):
My question is also to the leader in the Senate.
Leader, Canada has been a world leader when it comes to preventing ethnic cleansing around the world. When the former Yugoslavia fragmented into Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Croatia, ethnic cleansing broke out in the region. Canada was among the first countries to call for action. As early as 1991, Canadian Armed Forces members were on the ground and helping with relief and monitoring efforts before most other countries.
When the UN deployed its peacekeeping force one year later, Canadians monitored the ceasefires, brought food and supplies to civilians and have been credited with the saving of countless lives in a conflict that has become known as one of the bloodiest in history.
Myanmar faces its own ethnic cleansing today. According to CBC reports, 480,000 Rohingya have fled the country as security forces burn down Rohingya villages and kill any people unable to escape. However, Canada’s response so far is weaker than before. While we have provided Rohingya refugees with a few relief funds, we are not taking an active role in ending this bloody conflict.
Today we find ourselves faced with a situation just like in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. Leader, I believe that Canada must do more than just send a few relief funds and condemn Myanmar’s government. These actions will not end of plight of the Rohingya and allow them to return to their homes.
Leader, we are forgetting our legacy of stopping ethnic cleansing, as we did in Yugoslavia and Sudan, two decades later. While we declared that Canada is back on the world stage and are readying to provide 600 troops to UN peacekeeping operations, we are failing in Myanmar even now.
I again ask you, as I asked you a few days ago: What exactly are Canada’s plans?