Bangladesh presses Canada on support for ICJ Rohingya genocide case

Ottawa will consider possibility of financial support, Canadian minister tells Bangladeshi official

DHAKA, Bangladesh (AA) – In response to calls by Dhaka, Canada has said it will consider providing financial support to Gambia for the Rohingya genocide case it is pursuing against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the foreign minister of Bangladesh said on Thursday.

Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen raised the issue during his virtual meeting with Karina Gould, Canada’s minister for international development, the Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Gould said Ottawa “will consider the possibility of Canada’s financial support for the ICJ case on Rohingya,” read the statement.

She informed Momen that Canada has “earmarked 288 million Canadian dollars [$230 million] for the next three years for programs related to the Rohingya issue.”

During the meeting, Momen also stressed the need for the UN and the international community to support humanitarian operations on the Bhashan Char island, where Bangladesh has so far relocated over 20,000 Rohingya refugees.

Bangladesh is currently home to some 1.2 million Rohingya Muslims who fled a brutal military crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in August 2017.

Momen said the repatriation of Rohingya refugees “remains a priority for Bangladesh and for the Rohingya themselves,” and urged Canada to take a leading role in the matter.

The Canadian minister emphasized the importance of ensuring access to quality education for Rohingya children.

Momen agreed with her on the issue and said “the lack of education and other rights for Rohingya may lead to radicalization and extremism,” making it imperative for the crisis to be resolved at the earliest.

He also reiterated Bangladesh’s proposal that the UN Refugee Agency can recruit teachers from Myanmar.

“If education, health, and a pathway to citizenship for remaining Rohingya in Rakhine State can be ensured by the UN by investing more resources there, this would encourage displaced Rohingya in Bangladesh to return to their homeland,” he said.

The foreign minister also appealed to Canada to provide more COVID-19 vaccines to Bangladesh, where an immunization campaign for Rohingya refugees has also been launched recently.

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