Over 300,000 refugees. Over 2,300 homes burned. Over 1,000 people killed. The persecution of the Rohingya, the Muslim minority in Myanmar (also known as Burma), is not new. For decades, they have faced life as second class citizens in their own home country. Yet in the last few weeks, the inhumane policies of the Myanmar government have reached another level.
The recent violence was sparked by an attack on government forces by Rohingya insurgents, in response to the brutal systemic discrimination they have suffered. The response of the government was a “clearance operation.” They have raided countless villages, beating, imprisoning, raping, and murdering all in their path. The UN has called it a “textbook example” of ethnic cleansing. Yet the world has done nothing. The state counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, is a Nobel Peace Prize winner, and hopes were high after her election that a long term resolution could be reached to protect the Rohingya population. Yet in the last few weeks, she has been complicit in the murder of thousands. She has claimed ‘terrorists’ have created a “huge iceberg of misinformation”. Yet independent journalists have debunked many of the false claims made by her government.
What can be done? The Burma Task Force Canada has been coordinating efforts to pressure the government to take action and raise awareness regarding the crisis. For more information, visit https://www.burmamuslims.org/content/burma-task-force-canada
The Canadian Muslim community has been organizing to raise funds for Rohingya refugees and raise awareness on the plight of the Rohingya. The Muslim Council of Greater Hamilton has organized a demonstration outside of Hamilton City Hall this Friday, October 6th at 4:30pm. You can also write to your Member of Parliament to call on the Canadian government to support refugees and victims, as well as advocate for United Nations action at stopgenocide.ca.