Toronto Star

Canada gives $2.55M to Bangladesh to care for Muslim refugees


OTTAWA— Canada is giving Bangladesh extra money to help it cope with the influx of Rohingya Muslims fleeing neighbouri­ng Burma.

Internatio­nal Developmen­t Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says the additional $2.55 million will target care for women, new mothers and children under 5.

So far this year, Canada has committed to $6.63 million in humanitari­an assistance funding to aid partners in Burma and Bangladesh to help conflict-affected people, including the Rohingya.

The announceme­nt follows a $4.3-million contributi­on by the European Commission earlier this week to help deal with the crisis in Burma.

Bibeau says that the funds will also help victims of gender-based violence and will be given to three different United Nations agencies.

The UN estimates 240,000 children are among the 400,000 Rohingya who have fled Burma since late August, recounting attacks by government troops and Buddhist mobs.

Burma’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, also an honorary Canadian citizen, says her government is fighting a militant insurgency.

But she has been widely criticized for not speaking up in defence of her country’s persecuted Muslim minority.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said this week the violence against the Rohingya is “ethnic cleansing.”

Trudeau spoke by phone with San Suu Kyi on Wednesday to express “deep concerns” over the treatment of Muslims and other ethnic minorities in Burma. The government has made no comment about whether her honorary citizenshi­p would be revoked, but Bibeau is reiteratin­g Canada’s concern over the violence that has led to the mass displaceme­nt.

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