Canada’s House of Commons on Thursday unanimously agreed to declare the alleged atrocities against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar a genocide and to call on the International Criminal Court to prosecute senior Myanmar military officials for their role in the violence.
The motion endorsed the findings of a United Nations mission which called for prosecution of top military leaders of Myanmar for genocide. It also welcomed the decision of the International Criminal Court that it can exercise jurisdiction over allegations of Rohingya deportations from Myanmar to Bangladesh as a possible crime against humanity.
“It’s a very important step for Canada to recognise that the crimes against the Rohingya constitute a genocide,” Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrysita Freeland said, according to The Globe and Mail. “We are leading an international effort for justice and accountability for the Rohingya.”
On Tuesday, the United Nations released a 440-page report calling for the Myanmar’s military’s top leadership to be replaced and for the institution to have no influence over the country’s governance. The same day, the International Criminal Court announced that it has launched a preliminary inquiry into the deportations of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
In August 2017, the Myanmar Army started a crackdown in Rakhine state in response to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on police posts and a military base. The Army’s actions were referred to as “ethnic cleansing” by the UN and United States. More than 7 lakh Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh after the crackdown.
Myanmar has consistently refuted the claims, saying the international community was making false allegations.