June: Canada Vanguards Rohingya Humanitarianism, Yet Not Adequately

Canada responded quite well and on time to the Rohingya crises. Hon’ble Bob Rae, the Prime Minister’s special envoy to Myanmar, proposed $600 millions to be allocated as Canada’s response and preparedness to cope some immediate dangers like monsoon landslide hazard, destruction of makeshift shelters, spread of epidemics, sewerage, water and sanitation as well as livelihood supports for women and children through increased of health, hygiene and education support to Rohingya people sheltered in a small patch of land inside Bangladesh.

Canada allocated $300 so far. This is unclear whether more funding would be available in future. Nevertheless, this is good start for Canada—a desired move the world community has been waiting for Canada to step first as a leadership gesture.

The allocation might have focused meeting the most pressing immediate humanitarian needs, as well as carry out essential communication and collaboration drives to mobilize global support to solve the problem.

The Gulf News captioned—“Canada says ready to take Rohingya refugees: Foreign Minister pledges significant aid and calls for prosecution of those behind human rights atrocities in Myanmar”. We are not yet confident if this news captures the appropriate scenario or not. To this point Canada’s $300m million allocation seems yet made any specific spending pledge to welcome Rohingya refugees, or prosecute perpetrators of human rights violation. It is assumable that spending decisions be aptly made through greater dialoguing between the stakeholders. Sooner the better.

Conflict and Resilience Research Institute, Canada (CRRIC), a Winnipeg-based fast-emerging policy research organization, recently conducted a Policy Dialogue on Rohingya Crisis. Dr. Kawser Ahmed and author of this column made in-depth reflection on Canada’s desired role to overcome this human catastrophe. A section of the reflection was based on in-depth review of seventeen recommendations published in the report of hon’ble Bob Rae, Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to Myanmar, titled Tell Them We are Human.

Three most significant of many important recommendations the experts made in the dialogue are—first, Canada’s lead role in political advocacy of appropriate Rohingya repatriation from Bangladesh to Myanmar; second, extended humanitarian assistance with ‘women and children first’ approach; and third, promotion of global responsibility for countries about Rohingya refugee intake. Canada’s present undertaking takes mostly a humanitarian face with least focus to political advocacy and refugee intake. It is expected that Canada would incorporate refugee intake, and mobilization of global opinions to re-establish an environment for Rohingya repatriation to Myanmar.

February: Winnipeg: A Prospective Social Business and Microfinance Capital of Canada