1st Session, 42nd Parliament
Volume 150, Issue 144

Tuesday, October 3, 2017
The Honourable George J. Furey, Speaker

Demonstration in Support of Rohingya People

Hon. Mobina S. B. Jaffer: Honourable senators, I rise today to recognize the passion and energy I saw this past Sunday when I spoke at the Canada Bangladesh Muslim Community’s protest demonstration on the hill against the treatment of Rohingya people in Myanmar. I would like to recognize Mustafa Chowdhury, President of the Canada Bangladesh Muslim Community, who put in tremendous effort to organize this protest. I would also like to acknowledge Raees Ahmed, Fareed Khan, MP Chandra Arya, and Alex Neve of Amnesty International, who were keynote speakers.

In every speech that I heard, there was a heartfelt, impassioned plea to our Canadian government to rescue the Rohingyas. Some describe the horrifying conditions in Myanmar. Others appeal to Canada’s proud history of peacekeeping. Some told the heart-wrenching stories of Rohingya refugees. Finally, some spoke of what Canadians can do from their homes to help the Rohingya.


However, each and every speech that I heard at that protest had a common theme. They all stated that Canada could no longer wait to help the Rohingya people. This all came together in six words that were said in almost every speech, “The time to act is now.”

I agree the time to act is now. While Canada has devoted funds to relief efforts and expressed concern with Myanmar’s behaviour, it has not taken the decisive action to end the bloodshed, the ethnic cleansing.

Every speaker asked those watching to write parliamentarians to ask our government to act now. Today I will add my voice to this call for action and ask you to do the same with me.

When I first started to write and speak against the persecution of Rohingya in April 2014, they were called “The world’s most forgotten people.” However, the fact that so many people attended this protest on Sunday showed me that this is no longer the case. They proved that Canadians will never forget the Rohingya and will work tirelessly to help them when they need it most.

Honourable senators, I urge you all to hear their message and to push our Canadian government to do more to help the Rohingya people. We must tell them to act like leaders. That is what leadership is all about. The time to act is now. Thank you.