Hundreds of Canadians gathered outside of Queens Park on Saturday afternoon to stand in solidarity with the Rohingya Muslim humanitarian crisis.
Dozens of individuals holding signs that said “You don’t have to be Muslim; You just have to be human,” formed together in front of the legislative building.
“People are being brutally killed and burned alive,” he said. “No one can leave,” said Saifullah Muhammad. Muhammad, 30, is a student and activist in his Kitchener community and regularly communicates with his mother and father who currently reside in a Bangladesh refugee camp.
Stateless Rohingya Muslims have either fled or faced persecution in Myanmar since 1982. UN officials and Human Rights Watchdogs have labeled this crisis as “ethnic cleansing.” Myanmar Chancellor, Aung San Suu Kyi is being criticized by many for not doing enough to help Rohingya people.
Ahmed Ullah, 24, says that Kitchener has a large Rohingya community. “We are Canadian citizens acting in favour of human rights. Other’s should not be oppressed because of what one Canadian citizen and Nobel Peace Prize winner (Aung San Suu Kyi) is doing.”
Huwaida Pervez-Khan,46, immigrated to Canada from Pakistan over 20 years ago. “After viewing graphic and disturbing images of the Rohingya” crisis, she said she felt a duty to create a citizen awareness group to bring Canadian and Global attention to what she calls, “clear violations of human rights.” She and her partner’s Facebook group is called “End the Genocide: Rally for the Rohingya of Myanmar.” She expresses her frustration with the Burmese and Liberal government’s lack of attention to the human rights atrocities being committed.
Protesters listed their demands from the Liberal government:
- to lobby with international communities for immediate humanitarian intervention through the UN security council.
- for Canada to use its influence to compel Myanmar to allow an independent investigation in to alleged genocide.
- for Canada to sponsor Rohingya refugees similar to Syrian refugees,
- for Canada to suspend all foreign aid to Burmese government and pressure Myanmar government to allow for humanitarian aid.
- Canada must list the 969Movement lead by Ashin Wriathu, as a terrorist entity.
- Canada must persecute Myanmar’s chancellor Aung San Suu Kyi, and revoke her honorary Canadian Citizenship which was issued in 2007.