Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke with Myanmar’s de facto leader Wednesday and “conveyed his deep concerns” over the persecution of Rohingya Muslims, the prime minister’s office reported.
His telephone call to State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi comes after online petitions signed by 10,000 Canadians, collected in just five days, urged Trudeau to act and to revoke Suu Kyi’s honorary Canadian citizenship. Canada bestowed the honor in 2007 for her struggle to bring freedom and democracy to Myanmar.
“What is happening under Aung San Suu Kyi’s watch in Myanmar right now is about as far as you could get from [these] ideas,” the petition reads.
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The government statement released after the call did not address the citizenship issue.
However, Trudeau said on Twitter that: “Today I spoke with Aung San Suu Kyi to convey Canada’s deep concerns for Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.”
About 370,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh, saying government troops and Buddhist mobs are killing them. Myanmar is predominately Buddhist.
In a written statement, Trudeau said he discussed with Suu Kyi “the need to defend and protect the rights of all minorities”.
He went on to tell the state counsellor that there was “the urgent need for Myanmar’s military and civilian leaders to take a strong stand in ending violence, promoting the protection of civilians and promoting unimpeded access for the UN and international humanitarian actors”.
Trudeau pledged Canada’s support to “help build a peaceful and stable society in Myanmar”.
There was no mention in the statement of Suu Kyi’s reaction to Trudeau’s call for ending the violence against the Rohingya, except to say that “the state counsellor expressed appreciation for Canada’s contribution to humanitarian efforts”.
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