Petition letter given to Canadian government by Rohingya organization

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Kaladan Press

The Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organization of Canada (CBRO) met with the Canadian government to talk about the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya in Arakan state. Nur Hashim, CBRO chairperson, and other members met with Honorable Stephen Woodworth, Canadian Member of Parliament, in Kitchener, Ontario.

During the meeting there were discussions about the Burma’s 1982 citizenship and the recent killings and destruction of Rohingya properties during last year’s sectarian violence.

Woodworth promised CBRO that he would bring present these issues once the Canadian parliament re-opens.

A petition letter urging the Canadian government tell the nominally civilian government of Myanmar to stop committing human rights  violations against the Rohingya was also given to Woodworth during the meeting.

The Canadian politician added to the petition that the “2012 violence against Rohingyas has resulted in approximately 140, 000 displaced persons living in squalid conditions lacking proper sanitation, clean water and medical supplies” and that “residents are attacked if they attempt to leave the camp… aid groups have been blocked while trying to supply aids to IDP by anti-Rohingya factions”.  

Woodworth forwarded the petition to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, John Baird, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Chris Alexander, Minister of Immigration and Dr. A. Bennett, Ambassador for Religious Freedom, according to CBRO.

When the “1982 citizenship law was enacted, the Rohingyas of Burma become non-citizen in their own country”, said the petition. This new law restricted freedom of “movement, marriage, education, civil service and religious persecution”. This allowed state authorities to employ “extortion, extra judicial killing and arbitrary arrest” at their own discretion causing many “Rohingya to flee from their homeland” seeking refuge abroad.

The 1982 citizenship law was designed to deny the Rohingya population the right "to a nationality", according to the letter.

“It is a matter of a planned genocide” that Rohingyas are starving as a direct consequence of “the government-supervised violence against unarmed Rohingya Muslims minority in Arakan state of Burma by the Rakhine Buddhist nationalists”, said the petition.

After sectarian violence erupted in June and October of last year about 140,000 have displaced. The majority were Muslim according to UN estimates. Now they are still living in squalid camps that have been barred to aid workers.

After life became so unbearable many saw no other options available but to risk their lives boarding smuggling boats bound for Thailand or Malaysia. About 500 hundred people are believed to have perished after their boat capsized in the Bay of Bengal, according to UNHCR reports.
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