Bob Rae, Canada’s special envoy to Myanmar, government officials and community leaders were honoured at the Payal Banquet Hall in Mississauga on Sunday night for their outstanding work helping to end the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar.
The Appreciation Dinner was hosted by the not-for-profit organizations Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative (CRDI) and Burma Task Force (BTF).
Ahmed Ullah and Washim Ahmed delivered CRDI’s overview and thanked the government of Canada and all the participants for their enormous support for the Rohingya people.
“The initiatives led by the Canadian government aims at bringing an end of the Rohingya crisis while promoting human rights and calling it a genocide has drawn global attention. Thus, Canada should be more active and act to engage its international partners for sustainable solution,” said spokesperson for CRDI, Washim Ahmed.
“I believe that the entire Rohingya community count on the generosity of the Canadian people. We thank all Canadians for their generosity, solidarity and supports in our miserable time,” said Ullah, a co-founder of CRDI and a public relations student at Conestoga College.
Rae was honoured with an appreciation plaque by CRDI and BTF members.
In his part, Rae shed light on Canada’s commitment to supporting Rohingya in Myanmar and Bangladesh refugee camps. He also highlighted how Canada is trying to find a way to solve the crisis.
“While it is important for us to commemorate to thank, and for us to receive these thanks, it is so important for us to keep going and for us to understand how much [more] is still to be done,” Rae said.
“It is very important for us to understand one other thing. Every humanitarian crises requires – demands – a political solution. And for me, the most important part of the political solution is in the understanding that the Rohingya are real people, with a real history and real desire for achieving their place in the world and for being able to call somewhere their home.
“We need to understand that those who are left behind in Rakhine State are not safe right now. And if they are not safe right now, how can we be asking other people to join them coming across the border from Bangladesh? It does not make any sense,” Rae added.
Rae was appointed as special envoy to the prime minister on the Myanmar crisis in October 2017. Since then, his proposal to the government made nearly 380 million donations for Rohingya and a lot of political changes.
Rohingya are one of the indigenous ethnic groups of Myanmar. The government has been disseminating negative propaganda against them for decades. The systematic persecution against Rohingya people forced nearly a million Rohingya to Bangladesh in 2017. There are about 400 Rohingya living in Canada with more than 200 in the Waterloo Region.