Speech on Motion 240 regarding Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar

September 27, 2017

On September 21st, Senator Ataullahjan tabled a Motion in the Senate urging the government of Canada to call upon the government of Myanmar to end the violence against Rohingya Muslims.

On September 27th, the Senator gave moved her motion and said:


“Honourable Senators,


Since August 25th 2017, the human rights situation for Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has become more perilous and horrific as each day has passed.

 Reports of brutal violence and violations of human rights perpetrated by Myanmar government forces against the Rohingya, including sexual violence, rape, mass gang rape, torture, killing of civilians including infants and children, disappearances, families burned alive in their homes, torching of entire villages and indiscriminate attacks against those fleeing, including the shooting of women and children, continue to come to the fore.

One year ago, Myanmar government forces perpetrated a similar series of attacks against Rohingya Muslims which, at the time, the United Nations said were probably crimes against humanity, with one UN official describing the attacks as tantamount to ethnic cleansing.

When speaking of the current ongoing attacks, international experts have warned that the situation in Myanmar has all the hallmarks of past tragedies in Rwanda, Darfur, Bosnia and Kosovo.

 The UN’s human rights chief has said that the recent violent security crackdown by the Myanmar military seems like a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” And, last week, the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs said that the violence against the Rohingya “looks a lot like ethnic cleansing.”

In this regard, the international community has vehemently and persistently called on the government of Myanmar to allow entry of independent observers into the country. However, the government has refused to do so.

Haunting images of Rohingya trying to escape the attacks; terrified, with little food or drink, some suffering from gunshot wounds or burns themselves, carrying the elderly, infirm and babies in baskets, on their backs and in their arms, are being reported on a daily basis.

Of the approximate 1.1 million Rohingya living in Rakhine State, more than 420,000 – 60 percent of whom are children – have fled to Bangladesh thus far looking for safe shelter. Most without any possessions and many with physical and emotional injuries, as well as dangerous levels of malnutrition.

One Bangladeshi border guard stationed at Kutupalong said; that what he has witnessed is unlike anything he has ever seen. And, that “it breaks all records of inhumanity.”

Honourable Senators, it is imperative that the ongoing crisis facing Rohingya Muslims be addressed on an urgent basis. Therefore, I ask that you support this motion. Thank you.”


Next posts: