Canada called to action in Myanmar
Desperation as Rohingya ee rising violence
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.”