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


OTTAWA — The House of Commons unanimously adopted a motion Thursday to recognize the crimes against the Rohingya as a genocide.

The motion, put forward by Liberal MP Andrew Leslie, also endorsed the findings of a United Nations fact-finding mission outlining how crimes against humanity have been committed by the Myanmar military against the Rohingya and other minorities.

In Washington, Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland praised MPs for passing the motion to recognize “this atrocity.”

“It is a very important step for Canada to recognize that crimes against the Rohingya constitute a genocide,” she said after emerging from NAFTA talks.

Canada is leading an international effort for justice and accountability, Freeland said, pointing to the $300-million over three years budgeted to support displaced and other vulnerable populations.

She added the crimes against the Rohingya are “tragic” and “horrific.”

Human rights observers praised the declaration as a significant milestone. Ahmed Ramadan, executive director of Burma Task Force — a non-profit organization set up four years ago to advocate specifically for the Rohingya — said the motion was “a major breakthrough for the Rohingya.”

Earlier this week, the UN human rights council released a report on its fact-finding mission on three states in Myanmar.

The extensive report documented the systematic targeting of civilian Rohingya by the military, including mass gang rape, sexual slavery and the razing of hundreds of villages.

The Canadian Press