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To: Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Don't send the Rohingya back to genocide
Dear Prime Minister,
As a Canadian, I am deeply concerned about the process of repatriation of Rohingya and the role of the UNHCR. There is an urgent need for you to act.
Canada has repeatedly spoken out in defense of the Rohingya, it is critical that Canada speak out now.
I understand that Canada plays a leadership role at UNHCR and is a major donor to its activities. I am therefore calling on you to immediately pressure the UNHCR in Bangladesh to stop facilitating the refoulement of refugees from Bangladesh.
The UNHCR has acknowledged that the current conditions in Rakhine State are not conducive to the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of refugees. And yet, UNHCR has agreed to participate in an assessment of the voluntary nature of the planned repatriation.
Please do everything you can to stop this scandalous process of pushing Rohingya refugees back toward the ongoing genocide.
Why is this important?
Bangladesh planned to start sending Rohingya refugees back to Burma on November 15th. There are rumours of delays. There are rumours it has already started.
The UN has described the genocide in Burma as ongoing. They have said that the conditions in Burma are not conducive to the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of refugees.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has made a deal with the governments of Bangladesh and Burma. The UNHCR has agreed to assess if the refugees that Bangladesh wants to send back, are going willingly. This means the UNHCR is helping to facilitate a process of repatriation, even though they know it is not safe to go back.
This repatriation process has sparked terror in the camps. Some refugees have fled into hiding, a few have attempted suicide.
Canada is on the executive committee of the UNHCR. Canada is the 8th largest donor to UNHCR. Canada needs to stop this process now.