Canada to match Rohingya aid donations

 02 Nov 2017 - 10:40

Canada to match Rohingya aid donations

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TRENTON, Canada: Canadian organizations have raised about CAN$3 million for Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, as of Wednesday, and the government will match that donation, authorities told Anadolu Agency.

As well as matching the $3 million in donations since Aug. 25, International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau announced Tuesday the government will match November private donations to the Myanmar Crisis Relief Fund, dollar for dollar.

The monies will be in addition to the amount already pledged by Canada.

“Indeed, the government has already provided $25 million to this crisis and looking to do more with the Relief Fun,” International Development director of communications Louis Belanger said in an email to Anadolu Agency.

“Since August 25th, NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) have raised a little less than $3million. We don’t have the exact figure as fundraising has been ongoing, so we call on all Canadians to be generous as they’ve always been in the past.” 

More than 607,000 Rohingya have crossed from Myanmar's western state of Rakhine into Bangladesh since late August, according to the UN.

Refugees are fleeing a military operation in which security forces and Buddhist mobs have killed men, women and children, looted homes and torched Rohingya villages. According to Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali, around 3,000 Rohingya have been killed in the crackdown.

Turkey has been at the forefront of providing aid to Rohingya refugees and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has raised the issue at the UN.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

Last October, following attacks on border posts in Rakhine's Maungdaw district, security forces launched a five-month crackdown in which, according to Rohingya groups, around 400 people were killed.

The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. 

UN investigators have said such violations may constitute crimes against humanity.

In making the funding announcement, Bibeau said an additional 600,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh in the face of what the UN has termed ethnic cleansing in Myanmar.

She added that Bangladesh now has the largest refugee camp in the world, with an estimated 900,000 Rohingya and other monitories fleeing persecution by the Buddhist majority in Myanmar.

In a statement on its website Tuesday, UNICEF Canada said the situation is desperate.

“The speed and magnitude of the Rohingya refugee crisis has overwhelmed the capacity of the Government of Bangladesh and humanitarian agencies to respond to people’s immediate needs,” according to the statement. “More than 340,000 newly arrived children are in need of humanitarian assistance.

“Many come in shock, having lost family members or witnessed traumatic incidents; some are alone, with alarming reports of unaccompanied minors. They are in dire need of psychological support.”

UNICEF Canada urged Canadians to give to humanitarian organizations for Rohingya relief and take advantage of the government’s pledge to match donations.