PM presses Suu Kyi on Ro­hingyas

Talk fol­lows calls to re­voke honorary cit­i­zen­ship

StarMetro Toronto - - CANADA -

Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau spoke with Myan­mar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wed­nes­day to ex­press “deep con­cerns” over treat­ment of Mus­lims and other eth­nic mi­nori­ties in her coun­try.

The phone call fol­lowed a cho­rus of cries for Canada to re­voke the honorary cit­i­zen­ship it granted Suu Kyi in 2007.

The Prime Min­is­ter’s Of­fice was silent on that point in its sum­mary of the call, is­sued shortly af­ter Trudeau took ques­tions from the me­dia at a cab­i­net re­treat in St. John’s, N.L. The tim­ing meant re­porters were un­able to ask the prime min­is­ter about his con­ver­sa­tion with Suu Kyi.

An es­ti­mated 370,000 Ro­hingya have fled Myan­mar for neigh­bour­ing Bangladesh, say­ing they are run­ning from at­tacks by gov­ern­ment troops and Bud­dhist mobs.

Suu Kyi, a No­bel Peace Prize lau­re­ate, has been widely crit­i­cized in re­cent weeks for not do­ing more to pro­tect them.

She says her gov­ern­ment is fight­ing a mil­i­tant in­sur­gency.

Ac­cord­ing to the sum­mary, Trudeau stressed to Suu Kyi the ur­gent need for Myan­mar’s mil­i­tary and civil­ian lead­ers to take a strong stand in end­ing the vi­o­lence and pro­mote the pro­tec­tion of civil­ians and ac­cess for the United Na­tions and hu­man­i­tar­ian groups.

Trudeau also un­der­scored “the par­tic­u­lar im­por­tance” of Suu Kyi’s role as “a moral and po­lit­i­cal leader.”

The two dis­cussed “the need to de­fend and pro­tect the rights of all mi­nori­ties” and Trudeau of­fered Canada’s sup­port to help build “a peace­ful and sta­ble so­ci­ety in Myan­mar,” the sum­mary said.

Suu Kyi will skip this month’s UN Gen­eral Assem­bly meet­ings to ad­dress the prob­lems at home, Myan­mar’s gov­ern­ment said Wed­nes­day.

The cri­sis erupted on Aug. 25, when an in­sur­gent Ro­hingya group at­tacked po­lice out­posts in Myan­mar’s Rakhine state. That prompted Myan­mar’s mil­i­tary to launch “clear­ance op­er­a­tions” against the rebels.

The gov­ern­ment blames Ro­hingya for the vi­o­lence, but many of the Ro­hingya who flooded into refugee camps in Bangladesh told of sol­diers shoot­ing in­dis­crim­i­nately, burn­ing their homes and warn­ing them to leave or die.

Getty Im­aGes

re­cently ar­rived ro­hingya refugees wait to re­ceive aid do­na­tions Wed­nes­day in cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

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