Canada gives $2.5M to Bangladesh to help cope with Myanmar’s Muslim exodus

OTTAWA — Canada is giving Bangladesh extra money to help it cope with the influx of Rohingya Muslims fleeing neighbouring Myanmar.

International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau says the additional $2.55 million will target care for women, new mothers and children under five.

She says the funds will also help victims of gender-based violence, and will be given to three different United Nations agencies.

The UN estimates 240,000 children are among the 400,000 Rohingya who have fled Myanmar since late August recounting attacks by government troops and Buddhist mobs.

Myanmar’s leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, also an honorary Canadian citizen, says her government is fighting a militant insurgency. But she has been widely criticized for not speaking up in defence of her country’s persecuted Muslim minority.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said this week the violence against the Rohingya is “ethnic cleansing.”

Trudeau spoke by phone with San Suu Kyi on Wednesday to express “deep concerns” over the treatment of Muslims and other ethnic minorities in Myanmar, also known as Burma.

The government has made no comment about whether her honorary citizenship would be revoked, but Bibeau is reiterating Canada’s concern over the violence that has led to the mass displacement.

“We also urge the authorities in Myanmar to take measures to protect all civilians from the ongoing violence, and we call for the full, unimpeded resumption of humanitarian assistance activities for UN and international humanitarian organizations in Myanmar,” she says.

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