The Rohingya are arguably the world’s most persecuted people.
Aside from their formal exclusion by Myanmar’s military government, there are a myriad of less evident ways the Rohingya, an ethnic, linguistic and religious minority have been marginalized, specifically in relation to the colour of their skin, their religion, and their identity. Many other ethnic minorities have suffered at the hands of Myanmar’s oppressive military regime, but the Rohingya’s very existence is threatened. Recently thousands have fled by boat, hoping to land safely in neighbouring countries, only to find themselves facing death as they are pushed back out to sea.
For too many years the international community has been, for the most part silent - and in spite of recent international attention to their plight , the Burmese authorities have showed no sign of changing their ways.
In 2006, five families of Rohingya were selected by the Canadian Government for resettlement. This made Canada the first country to formally resettle Rohingya, and many other developed countries have followed this lead.
Today there are over 300 Rohingya living in Canada and over a third of them live in the Kitchener-Waterloo area of Ontario.
Nur Hashim, who heads the Canadian Burmese Rohingya Organization, came here in 2007.
“We will always be thankful to Canada. We have no words to give thanks. Still we are very sorry for our people in Burma. Here we can buy fish and meat, and there they have nothing. I continue to work for my community here and in Burma. I try to be an ambassador and advocate for our cause. It is important that Canadian society knows what is going on.”