Canada called to ac­tion in Myan­mar

Des­per­a­tion as Ro­hingya ee ris­ing vi­o­lence

Metro Canada (Toronto) - - FRONT PAGE - Gil­bert Ngabo Metro | Toronto

A Toronto non-profit is launch­ing a full-fledged emer­gency ap­peal for Myan­mar.

“What is hap­pen­ing there is be­yond dev­as­tat­ing. So many peo­ple are dy­ing while they try to get away from vi­o­lence,” said Rey­hana Pa­tel, spokesper­son for Is­lamic Re­lief Canada.

“A lot more at­ten­tion has to be fo­cused on this. It’s not the top story be­cause of all the hur­ri­cane stuff, but it should be.”

The group is or­ga­niz­ing a se­ries of events through­out the week to col­lect do­na­tions for those in need and mount pres­sure on the Cana­dian gov­ern­ment to in­ter­vene.

The UN has warned that Myan­mar is fac­ing a risk of eth­nic cleans­ing and crimes against hu­man­ity. Over 250,000 Ro­hingya peo­ple have fled the coun­try since vi­o­lence broke out in late Au­gust, and hun­dreds have been killed, ac­cord­ing to re­ports from the ground.

The Ro­hingya peo­ple — a mi­nor­ity Mus­lim group in a coun­try dom­i­nated by a Bud­dhist ma­jor­ity — have faced se­vere re­pres­sion for a long time.

The es­ca­la­tion has brought the coun­try’s new leader Aung San Suu Kyi un­der fire. A long­time free­dom fighter, she brought hope to the coun­try when her po­lit­i­cal party won the election in 2015 but has failed to con­front the op­pres­sive military rule.

Some, in­clud­ing fel­low No­bel Peace Prize win­ners like Des­mond Tutu and Malala Yousafzai, have writ­ten let­ters urg­ing her to act in pro­tec­tion of peo­ple’s rights.

Pa­tel ques­tioned the value of Suu Kyi’s honorary Cana­dian cit­i­zen­ship.

“She re­ceived it I be­lieve on val­ues of democ­racy, free­dom, hu­man rights and the rule of law,” she said, won­der­ing why the po­lit­i­cal leader isn’t speak­ing up against the vi­o­lence.

“What’s hap­pen­ing there, in front of her eyes, goes against ev­ery­thing that Canada stands for.”

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