Bob Rae, who spent seven months in 2017 and 2018 examining the forces that drove over 600,000 Rohingya from their homes in Myanmar to refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh, is being named Canada’s special envoy for humanitarian and refugee issues.
In 2017, Rae was appointed as a special envoy to Myanmar. In April 2018, Rae delivered a report that made 17 recommendations for Canada’s response, including ramping up humanitarian aid and welcoming more refugees from the region. Rae’s report was welcomed by Amnesty International, but the Trudeau government did not meet his call for $600 million over four years to help hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims affected by the violence.
However, in September 2018, Canada’s House of Commons voted to unanimously declare the actions of the Myanmar military against the Rohingya Muslims a genocide. Two weeks later, Parliament formally stripped Myarmar’s civilian leader, Nobel Prize winnter,Aung San Suu Kyi, of her honorary Canadian citizenship for her refusal to condemn Myanmar’s military or to take action to stop atrocities–including rape and murder–committed against the Rohingya. She became the first person ever to be stripped of honorary Canadian citizenship.
The announcement of Rae’s latest appointment comes as the Trudeau government has provided financing for police training and surveillance equipment to at least seven Southeast Asian countries with histories of human rights violations — Myanmar, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand — to intercept irregular migrants and smugglers.