The House of Commons of Canada unanimously agreed to declare the Burmese violent treatment of Rohingya Muslims a genocide. The House of Commons also called on the International Criminal Court(ICC) to prosecute top Burmese military officials for their active and directive role in the heinous atrocities against the ethnic Rohingya minority in Arakan state of western Burma.
The motion came on Thursday after Andrew Leslie, parliamentary secretary to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, has sought unanimous consent from MPs of the House to endorse the recent investigation findings of a United Nations fact-finding mission that detailed pictures of crimes against the Rohingya, including killings, mass rape and burning of homes last year. The horrific army crack-down on civilians drove more than 700,000 innocent Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim minority largely denied citizenship in the land of their fore-fathers.
The House called on the UN Security Council to refer this horrific situation in Burma to the ICC and for milotary chain of commands in Burma to be investigated and prosecuted. It also welcomed the recent landmarking decision of the ICC that it has jurisdiction over the forced deportation of memebers of Rohingya people from Burma to neighbouring Bangladesh.
Foreign Affairs Minister of Canada, Chrystia Freeland while speaking to the reporters in Washington commended her colleagues for supporting the motion. “It’s a very important step for Canada to recognize that the crimes against the Rohingya constitute a genocide,” Ms. Freeland said.
“We are leading an international effort for justice and accountability for the Rohingya,” he added.
Earlier this week, more than 100 legal experts, civil-society organizations and human-rights advocates from across Canada wrote to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging him to declare the violent campaign against Rohingya genocide.
The Conservatives have long been urging the Liberal government to declare the Rohingya crisis a genocide. Soon after the declaration, Conservative MP Garnett Genuis welcomed the motion Thursday, but said the government needs to ensure that members of Burma’s civilian government, including Ms. Suu Kyi, are also held accountable, in addition to military officials.
In June, Canada issued sanctions against seven Burmese senior military officials over their involvement in the persecution of the Rohingya.