20 September 2018

Free Rohingya Coalition statement on Canada’s unprecedented official declaration of Myanmar’s crimes against Rohingyas as genocide

Frankfurt, Germany: The Free Rohingya Coalition wholeheartedly welcome the adoption, the motion in the Canadian House of Commons which, with a rare unanimity, declared Myanmar’s crimes against Rohingya people a genocide.

The FRC’s coordinator for women and children’s affairs Razia Sultana said, “today Canada has done a major service to our Rohingya communities, in diaspora, in refugee camps and inside our ancestral homeland of Western Myanmar by recognizing the heinous crimes Myanmar military has inflicted upon us for more than 40 years.  On behalf of my fellow Rohingyas, I therefore thank Canada for its principled and compassionate leadership.”

Ms Sultana left her home in N. Rakhine State, Myanmar when she was a young girl and settled in Bangladesh where she was educated as a lawyer and teacher.

Nay San Lwin, the Germany-based Rohingya blogger who coordinates the coalition’s campaigns and media relations, added, “We Rohingyas deserve justice.  I am incredibly appreciative that Canada has called the crimes by their legal name.  While I echo calls for ICC referral and other global justice venues, I urge all those who support justice for Rohingyas to conceive of justice in a broad, meaningful and concrete sense.”

Nay San Lwin came from a prominent Rohingya family in Buthidaung, where they contributed to the lives of Rohingyas and Rakhine alike.  He is now a refugee in Germany campaigning for the restoration of citizenship to Rohingya people.

Dr Maung Zarni, a Buddhist Burmese activist with the coalition who described his country’s persecution of Rohingyas as slow burning genocide in the first-ever academic study on Myanmar’s genocide 5 years ago, calls for the Canadian Government to help end the genocide. “Canada has proved that when it comes to important global issues, it can punch above its weight.   The genocide is still on-going.   It will be ended only through major concerted efforts by a coalition of genocide-acknowledging governments (for instance, Malaysia, France, Turkey, etc.).

Free Rohingya Coalition is a global network of leading Rohingya activists in the diaspora and refugee activists in the camps in Bangladesh, as well as their international friends including former Canadian Justice Minister Irwin Cotler, renowned postcolonial scholar Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak of Columbia University and former Foreign and Defence Minister of Malaysia Tan Sri Hamid Albar.

The coalition is campaigning to get UN member states that have signed the Genocide Convention of 1948, an inter-State treaty, to create concrete protection and support mechanisms for the Rohingya population inside Myanmar, as well as 1 million Rohingya survivors of the genocide languishing in camps in Bangladesh.

Tun Khin, International Outreach Coordinator, Free Rohingya Coalition
Mobile: +44 788 871 4866

Nay San Lwin, Campaign and Media Coordinator, Free Rohingya Coalition
Mobile: +49 176 62139138; email : | Twitter @FreeRoCoalition

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