In August, a tragic milestone — 3 years after the start of world’s latest genocide — and there has been little improvement for Rohingya survivors. And this week, another crisis — Bangladesh has started relocating refugees to a controversial island, Bhasan Char, which Human Rights Watch called a ‘de facto prison island’. Bangladesh has repeatedly tried to move refugees to the island in the past and has stopped after outcry from rights groups, aid organizations including UN and Rohingya themselves. There has been no transparency with this recent action and Bangladesh has not addressed any of the issues with inhabiting…


After federal court ruling that the Safe Third Country agreement (STCA) violated the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the government decided to appeal the decision and delay any action on STCA for years potentially. This despite repeated calls from refugees advocates such as Amnesty on the shameful detention conditions that refugees face as a result of STCA. Even former prominent Liberal officials Allan Rock and Lloyd Axworthy have stated Canada is complicit in sending refugees to be abused. Most importantly, we have heard the heartbreaking pleas from refugees such as 20-year old Nedira Mustefa from Ethiopia who was detained…


In August 2017, the world witnessed a genocide carried out by the Myanmar military and government against the Rohingya, an ethnic Muslim minority who have lived in Myanmar for generations. Thousands of men, women and children were raped, tortured and killed. Three years later, over 1 million Rohingya remain stuck in the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh. They are subject to horrible living conditions, are currently at a heightened risk of contracting COVID and have little future. Meanwhile in Myanmar, authorities continue to oppress minorities and the UN has warned that there is a serious risk of genocide recurring


Leading advocacy organizations and courageous refugees were successful in their pursuit to end Canada’s Safe Third Country Agreement (STCA) with the US after a federal court ruled it unconstitutional. The agreement mandates the immediate rejection and return of refugee claimants coming through the US to Canada based on the assumption that they will be treated humanely if sent back. However, this has not been the case for the 16-year history of the agreement, especially recently. One of countless examples of this involved Nedira Mustefa from Ethiopia, who was kept in solitary confinement without reason for a week, “a terrifying, isolating…


The Rohingya genocide occurred in August 2017. Tens of thousands were raped, removed from the homes and country and killed.

A million Rohingya refugees still currently live in decrepit conditions in the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh. From reports, they have little access to education and/or prospects of a livelihood. In Myanmar, the Rohingya that remain live in apartheid-like state with high risk of genocide occurring again, according to the UN.

In 2018, Canada took a lead in the international community to not only call what happened officially a genocide but it also came up with a strategy, released…


Last week, judges at the International Court of Justice made the first ever international ruling — although provisional — against Myanmar, unanimously stating that Rohingya in Myanmar need to be protected from risks of genocide. Although we are years away from a final verdict and any sort of enforcement or accountability, this acknowledgement was historic and sent the message loud and clear, in-line with the many other declarations of the Rohingya genocide. Unfortunately though, it does not change the horrible conditions and prospects for 1M Rohingya refugees living in the world’s largest refugee camp in Bangladesh. As many experts have stated including Hon. Bob Rae, the international community needs to continue to push for citizenship for Rohingya in Myanmar as that is the only path to a sustainable future.


Indigenous issues (02/09)

More information on Indigenous Languages Act and UNDRIP

Indigenous Languages Act — recognizes and supports all Indigenous languages in Canada and contains mechanisms to: recognize Indigenous language rights; support efforts of Indigenous Peoples to reclaim, revitalize, strengthen and maintain Indigenous languages; establish measures for the provision of long-term, sustainable funding of Indigenous languages; support and promote the use of Indigenous languages; advance the objectives of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples with regard to Indigenous languages; establish an Office of the Commissioner of Indigenous Languages

UNDRIP — recognizing basic human rights of Indigenous…


A year and a half ago, the latest round of atrocities against the Rohingya started. Rohingya were brutally murdered, raped and forced from their homes, not because of anything other than their ethnicity and religion. Governments including Canada as well as the United Nations named it a genocide — the first in the world in 14 years. Since then, accountability for the regime has been limited to sanctions on a handful of officials which have likely not affected their standing within Myanmar. The sanctions did not even extend to the leader of the military, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing. Talks…


With the continuously moving newscycle and multitude of community, domestic and international issues surfacing everyday, it is unsurprising that mainstream coverage of the Rohingya genocide has slowed to a trickle.

Unfortunately, that has no correlation with progress— in Myanmar - where the genocide started less than a year and a half ago and is “ongoing” according to the UN — in Bangladesh where over 1 million refugees have little semblance of a dignified life or possess any opportunities for work or education — and amongst the international community which has enforced minor accountability or punishment for the Myanmar regime responsible…


The movie Blood Diamond, although fictional, helped bring the issue of “conflict diamonds” an uncut diamond mined in an area of armed conflict and traded illicitly to finance funding — to the mainstream. There has been significant progress since then including a “passport system” adopted by diamond retailers, providing transparency to where diamonds purchased are coming from.

If there was ever a need for a sequel to that movie, it takes place in Myanmar. Myanmar is the site of an ongoing genocide by the government and military against the Rohingya minority. …

Shamir Tanna

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