David Anderson is travelling to Myanmar, formally known as Burma, Aug. 16-20 to address threats to the right of freedom of religion or belief in the country.
Anderson, MP for Cypress Hills-Grassland, will be travelling to the sovereign southeast Asian country in his capacity as Official Opposition Critic for International Human Rights and Religious Freedom.
The ongoing persecution of the Rohingya Muslim minority will be a priority for Anderson and the delegation travelling to the country.
Anderson and his colleagues are expected to demand action from the new government of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on this humanitarian crisis.
For decades, the Rohingya have been denied their citizenship, freedom of movement, and access to basic services. In recent years, inter-ethnic violence and prejudice amongst Burmese citizens has intensified, displacing many Rohingya to the confines of ghettoized camps, and forcing thousands of others to flee the country at great risk to themselves
In June, Canada’s human rights sub-committee released a report on the Rohingya minority in Myanmar.
“The Rohingya, who were stripped of their citizenship in 1982, are denied human rights and fundamental liberties, face restrictions on their right to earn a livelihood, receive an education, practice their religion, and control over their family lives regarding marriage and having children,” the report says.
A regional migrant crisis was caused in 2012 when tens of thousands Rohingya fled the country after violent conflicts between Rakhine Buddhists and Rohingya Muslims.
According to the report, close to 150,000 predominantly Rohingya remain ghettoized in displaced persons camps, surrounded by barbed wire and security checkpoints, without access to basic services.
“Many witnesses did not shy away from calling their persecution ‘genocide’ or ‘ethnic cleansing’. These are words that we will not ignore. It is crucial that we let Burma’s leaders know that the world is watching, and waiting for some concrete action to curb this intolerance,” Anderson said in a statement.
Anderson joins the delegation as a founding member of the International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion or Belief (IPPFoRB), which is a group “committed to the defence of religious freedom for everyone, everywhere.”
Anderson and his IPPFoRB colleagues will be joined by members of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) and other parliamentarians from Norway, Brazil, South Africa, Malaysia, and Thailand.