Canada statement on the continuing crisis in Myanmar 


August 28, 2018 - Ottawa, Ontario - Global Affairs Canada

The Honourable Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and the Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of International Development, today issued the following statement on the continuing crisis facing the Rohingya people of Myanmar:

“Since August 2017, the international community has been outraged by the horrific campaign of violence and gross human rights violations in Myanmar’s Rakhine state. The Rohingya people have been subjected to a decades-long campaign of systematic discrimination perpetrated by the Myanmar security forces, including the most repugnant sexual violence which has led to nearly 725,000 Rohingya fleeing the country into neighbouring Bangladesh.

“Without justice, equity and respect for fundamental rights in Myanmar, there can be no peace. With the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the United Nations Development Programme, Canada will continue to advocate for the full and unimpeded access to Rakhine state by the United Nations and international organizations and the voluntary, dignified, safe and sustainable return of refugees. 

“Canada remains committed to addressing the humanitarian and security crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh. Since the beginning of 2017, Canada has provided $66.1 million for aid partners to deliver life-saving, assistance for refugees that suports women and girls, displaced people and the communities that are hosting them.

“Canada also appointed a Special Envoy to Myanmar, Bob Rae, whose final report and recommendations led to the development of a comprehensive strategy to meet the needs of those displaced and most vulnerable in Myanmar and Bangladesh.

“As part of this strategy, in May 2018, Canada committed $300 million over the next three years to support a coordinated response to meet the needs of those displaced and other vulnerable populations. This was followed by an announcement of nearly $3.8 billion by Canada, the European Union, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom and the World Bank at the G7 Summit for quality education for women and girls living in crisis, conflict-affected and fragile states.

“On the question of accountability and impunity, we must ensure that those responsible for the atrocities and human rights violations committed in Rakhine state, including sexual and gender-based violence, are brought to justice. Canada will continue to work closely with other states, international organizations and partners as well as civil society to hold the perpetrators of international crimes in Myanmar to account, including through the establishment of an international accountability mechanism.

“Canada has demonstrated its continued and strong commitment to protecting the human rights of the Rohingya and other ethnic groups in Myanmar. In February and June 2018, Canada imposed targeted sanctions against senior military officials as a result of the role they played in the oppression, ethnic cleansing, and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya in the violent operations launched in Rakhine state in August 2017. We support the findings of the UN report released yesterday, which concluded that senior officials in the Tatmadaw chain of command should be investigated and prosecuted in order to ensure a competent court can determine their responsibility for genocide in relation to the situation in Rakhine state.

“We and the international community have a grave responsibility to respond to the acute needs of the persecuted Rohingya. We cannot be silent. We must hold perpetrators of violence to account and support all efforts toward building lasting peace and reconciliation in Myanmar.

Associated links


Adam Austen
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs

Justine Lesage
Press Secretary
Office of the Minister of International Development

Media Relations Office
Global Affairs Canada
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