ANKARA (AA) - Thirty-four senators from the 105-seat Canada senate urged action on the ongoing genocide against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar by initiating proceedings before the International Court of Justice.
In a letter to Canadian foreign minister on Tuesday, the senators and civil society organizations cited a 2018 report from Bob Rae, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s special envoy to Myanmar.
The report says "it is a fundamental tenet of Canada’s foreign policy that those responsible for international crimes, including crimes against humanity and genocide, must be held responsible for those crimes."
Addressing Chrystia Freeland, the senators said they believe Canada, the first country in the world to call the situation a genocide, is in a position "to exercise strong and effective global leadership" on the neglected plight of Rohingyas.
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, emerging the number of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.
In September 2018 both the House of Commons and the Senate of Canada unanimously passed a motion recognizing the Rohingya situation as genocide.
Senators asked the government to reinforce Motion 476, a request from the All-Party Parliamentary Group, which calls for Canada to initiate legal proceedings before the International Court of Justice in regard to Myanmar’s breach of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide.
Complaining about the lack of a solid progress or debate despite numerous attempts, they asked the government to pass the motion before the looming summer recess.
"With this open letter, we urge the Government of Canada to take the next step of invoking the Genocide Convention to hold Myanmar accountable, because it is both our moral and legal obligation to do so," said the letter.
More than two dozen civil society organizations operating in Canada have undersigned the letter.