20 Sep
  • By CRDI

House of Commons declares Myanmar’s treatment of Rohingya a genocide

In a rare show of unanimity, MPs on Thursday agreed to call the campaign of ethnic cleansing against the Rohingya in Myanmar an act of genocide.

Liberal MP Andrew Leslie, who is parliamentary secretary to the minister of foreign affairs, rose following question period to present a motion asking for unanimous consent among MPs from all parties to recognize as a genocide the killings, which began last summer, and to call for the generals and leaders responsible to be prosecuted for the crime under international law.

READ MORE: More than 15,000 Rohingya refugees gather to mark 1-year anniversary of Myanmar’s attacks

More than 900,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar into neighbouring Bangladesh since August 2017.

The Rohingya are an ethnic minority in Myanmar who have been the target of a campaign of systemic rape and murder led by the Myanmar military.

Aung San Suu Kyi, who holds a position equivalent to prime minister in the country, has consistently failed to stop the violence.

She holds Canadian citizenship.

Last year, the United Nations recognized the campaign of violence against the Rohingya as ethnic cleansing.

The decision by the House of Commons comes after the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in Myanmar told the Human Rights Council earlier this year she believed the crimes amount to genocide.

“I am becoming more convinced that the crimes committed following 9 October 2016 and 25 August 2017 bear the hallmarks of genocide and call in the strongest terms for accountability,” said Yanghee Lee in March.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is expected to weigh in shortly.

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