Canada pledges $300M to Rohingya crisis, but stops short on resettlement


OTTAWA — The Trudeau government is promising $300 million in foreign aid over the next three years to help the hundreds of thousands of ethnic Rohingya affected by a brutal campaign of violence by Myanmar’s military.

The money forms the cornerstone of the government’s response to a recent report by Bob Rae, who was appointed last year as Canada’s special envoy to the eight-month-old crisis and called for more money to help the situation.

But the government doesn’t appear to have any immediate plans to start resettling persecuted Rohingya, 700,000 of whom have fled Myanmar and are now living in squalid conditions in neighbouring Bangladesh.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau say Canada will work with other countries and the UN to come up with broad international plan for resettlement.

They say Canada stands ready to resettle the most vulnerable at that point, and in the interim will expedite applications from family members already here.

The ministers say Canada will also support efforts — including a referral to the International Criminal Court — to hold accountable those responsible for the crisis, which Freeland says represents ethnic cleansing.

The Canadian Press