A Letter to FA Canada
The Honorable Christina Alexandra Freeland, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Foreign Affairs,
House of Commons
Re: Thanking Canada for Supporting Rohingya Human Rights
Dear Minister Freeland:
May this letter find you in the best of health and spirit. We, the refugee youth with the Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative (CRDI), wish to thank you and the Twenty-Ninth Canadian Ministry for imposing sanctions under the Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act in response to the genocidal violence committed by actors and entities associated with the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma.
As Canadian Rohingya, we are proud of Canada’s stance. The Government’s decision to impose sanctions against Major-General Maung Maung Soe is a significant and positive step. We encourage the international community to follow Canada’s lead.
However, Major-General Maung Maung Soe is one of many figures in the apparatus of the security regime that controls Myanmar. He is not the only culprit behind the ongoing Rohingya genocide. We kindly implore the Government to consider two other persons of influence that Canada should, in good faith, consider for additional targeted sanctions.
The first person of immediate importance is Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the current Commander-in-Chief of the Myanmar Armed Forces (the Tatmadaw). With overall command responsibility, he is verifiably the main perpetrator. It has been established beyond doubt that the Tatmadaw and its affiliated paramilitary formations routinely carry out crimes against humanity under the orders and supervision of Min Aung Hlaing as a matter of Myanmar state policy. The regime’s atrocities include infants being burned alive, civilians being buried alive, mass rapes and instances of beheadings among countless other acts of state terror.
The second person of importance is Her Excellency Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of Myanmar. The de facto head of government, her premiership is marred by an explicit withdrawal from her responsibilities vis-à-vis principles of fundamental justice and the rule of law. Her regime has consistently blocked aid to reach the persecuted Rohingya minority, she has actively encouraged local and international audiences to not refer to the Rohingya by name. She is accelerating the military regime’s policy of denying citizenship for Rohingya persons, upholding the discriminatory Myanmar Citizenship Law of 1982 which stripped the Rohingya of their Myanmar nationality.
Madam Counsellor is an honourary Canadian citizen and a recipient of the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize. Yet her government makes no effort to stop the genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingya minority.
Canada’s response to the plight of Syrian and Kurdish Yazidi refugees was commendable. The situation faced by the Rohingya is similar if not worse. We are sincerely hoping to see Canada continue its efforts and rally the international community to do the right thing. It is unacceptable for nation-states to engage in genocidal practices with impunity in 2018.
We commend your government championing human rights as a Canadian value. We strongly urge the Government of Canada to continue increasing pressure and sanctions against the Myanmar regime. Canada will find allies in this endeavour through multilateral forums of cooperation such as the United Nations. It gives us, and our beleaguered loved ones fleeing violence, some hope in this dark chapter.
May you persevere in serving Canada while leaving a gentle mark on this world of ours.
Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative,
+1519 588 7747