Dawn – Foreign Office confirms talks between Pakistan, Canada over Aasia Bibi

Islamabad Capital Territory – Pakistan, 13 November 2018. Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi discussed Aasia Bibi, recently freed from prison following the overturning of her blasphemy conviction by the Supreme Court, in a phone call with his Canadian counterpart on Monday, Foreign Office (FO) Spokesperson Dr Mohammad Faisal confirmed on Tuesday.

“The Canadian FM appreciated the Supreme Court’s courageous decision and the Prime Minister’s positive speech,” the tweet added.

In a second tweet, the FO spokesperson added: “FM Qureshi said that Aasia Bibi is our national and Pakistan fully respects her legal rights”.

The confirmation of talks between the two governments on the issue came after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday said his government was talking to Pakistan over potentially offering asylum to Aasia Bibi.

“We are in discussions with the Pakistani government,” Trudeau had said in an interview to AFP in Paris, where he was attending a peace conference organised by French President Emmanuel Macron.

“There is a delicate domestic context that we respect which is why I don’t want to say any more about that, but I will remind people Canada is a welcoming country,” he said.

Aasia Bibi has been ‘taken under protection’ by the Pakistani state after the overturning of her conviction prompted a wave of protests by religio-political groups.

After her release from prison, she has been flown to a “safe place”. Several governments have offered to grant her family asylum.

Her husband has appealed in particular to Britain, Canada and the United States, claiming that Aasia Bibi’s life would be in danger as long as she lives in Pakistan.

FM Qureshi meets with Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s sister, discuss possible ways forward for her “repatriation”

FM Qureshi also met Dr Aafia Siddiqui’s sister on Tuesday in Islamabad and informed her about the government’s efforts regarding her sister’s case, Radio Pakistan reported.

Dr Aafia was convicted in 2010 on charges of attempted murder and assault of United States personnel and is serving an 86-year sentence at the Federal Medical Centre, Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas. It is a US federal prison for female inmates of all security levels with special medical and mental health needs.

In a tweet shared on Tuesday, FM Qureshi said that he had asked the Pakistani Consul General in Houston to seek regular consular visits and to “ensure Dr Aafia] Siddiqui’s well being in line with her legal and human rights”.

Qureshi added that he had assured Dr Fauzia Siddiqui of his “full support” and said that the two had also discussed possible ways forward for Dr Aafia’s return.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1445367/foreign-office-confirms-talks-between-pakistan-canada-over-aasia-bibi

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CBC News – Meet Private Buckam Singh, one of the first Sikh soldiers to serve Canada

Private Buckam Singh served in combat on the fields of Flanders in 1916

Carmen Ponciano/CBC

Canadian historian Sandeep Singh Brar rediscovered Private Singh’s story when he found his war medals in a British pawn shop and then went on to locate his grave in a Kitchener, Ontario cemetery.

Not every person worth remembering made it into the history books. Each month, the Secret Life of Canada shouts out a Canadian or Indigenous person that has had a lasting impact worth celebrating. These historical figures may not be on money or monuments but their legacies live on.

Private Buckam Singh’s military contributions to Canada weren’t widely known until almost 100 years after his service, but he has since been recognized as the first Sikh man to enlist with the Canadian army during the First World War.

Private Singh volunteered to fight for Canada despite the government’s restrictive immigration policies against South Asian people.

Here are five things we learned about the soldier, whose service and sacrifice we celebrate this coming Remembrance Day.

1) He was unable to immigrate with his family

Singh was born in India and moved to Canada when he was 14 years old. When he arrived in 1907, it was a tumultuous time in the country for South Asian people.

At this time over 98 % of South Asian immigrants to Canada were Sikhs. They became a target of hate groups like the Asiatic Exclusion League.

The Canadian government resisted South Asian immigration, but due to a labour shortage, British Columbia accepted Sikh labourers. Unfortunately the immigration restrictions meant Sikh men like Singh were not allowed to immigrate with their families, a deterrent to discourage their migration.

2) Sikh Canadians were some of the earliest South Asian immigrants

In 1908, the Canadian government passed a law that stipulated all immigrants had to come to Canada by “continuous journey and through tickets from the country of their birth or nationality or citizenship.”

This meant coming to Canada would be almost impossible for most Sikhs, as there were no direct ships that sailed between India and Canada.

Sikh immigration fell from 2,623 people in 1907 to just six the following year, and the impact on the community’s immigration numbers would be felt for the next 40 years.

3) He was wounded twice

Despite the forced separation from his family due to restrictive immigration policies, Singh enlisted to fight in the First World War in 1915. He would become a member of the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force. He as one of just nine Canadian Sikhs to fight in the war.

Singh was shipped out very quickly. He served with the 20th Canadian Infantry Battalion in the battlefields of Flanders in 1916, and was wounded twice in separate battles.

4) He was treated in the hospital run Doctor Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae

Injured from a gunshot wound, Singh was treated at a hospital run by Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, the physician who would go on to write one of the most famous wartime poems: In Flanders Fields.

By 1917, as he was waiting to be sent back to the frontline, Singh developed tuberculosis. He was admitted to the a Canadian-run military hospital and underwent surgery to remove fluid from his lung.

5) He was laid to rest with full honours, but never saw his family again

Singh was sent back to Canada to recover after his surgery. After arriving in Halifax, he made the long train journey to try to recover in Ontario. Sadly, he succumbed to his tuberculosis on August 27, 1919, in Kitchener, Ontario.

He had no family or community around him.

Singh was buried by the Canadian military with full honours and laid to rest at Mount Hope Cemetery in Kitchener. His grave is one of the only resting places of a Sikh Canadian soldier from the First World War.

https://www.cbc.ca/radio/secretlifeofcanada/meet-private-buckam-singh-one-of-the-first-sikh-soldiers-to-serve-canada-1.4894613

Sikh24.com – Jagmeet Singh hopes Canada will recognize inhuman carnage of Sikhs as genocide

Sikh24 Editors

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 03 November 2018. Jagmeet Singh, who heads the National Democratic Party in Canadian Parliament, has released a statement on the 34th anniversary of the 1984 Sikh genocide.

In his statement, Jagmeet Singh has expressed hope that the House of Commons in Canada and the Canadians will soon recognize the inhuman carnage carried out by the fanatic Hindu mobs in November-1984 as genocide.

Wording of his statement is as follows:

“From November 1st to 4th, Canadians and Human Rights Advocates will mark the 34th anniversary of the 1984 Sikh Genocide.

Sikh men were burned alive. Women were subject to unthinkable sexual violence and children were murdered in gruesome fashion.

Many, including, former Indian Supreme Court Justice, G T Nanavati have pointed out that state resources were instrumental in these premeditated killings.

That is why I join and express my solidarity with the thousands of Canadians that live with this pain as survivors and bearers of inter-generational trauma.

It is also why efforts for healing and reconciliation must be prioritized.

Unfortunately, the statement from a member of the Liberal government to mark today’s solemn anniversary did not do this.

By referring to the tragedy as “riots” the Liberal Government contradicted and undermined the spirit of reconciliation.

Truth-telling is a prerequisite to justice and the naming of these crimes is instrumental to the healing and reconciliation process for those impacted.

In this spirit, India’s Home Minister Rajnath Singh and as well as the Delhi Assembly and the Ontario Legislature have recognized these atrocities as genocide.

It is my hope that the House of Commons in Canada and this government will do the same.

The path to reconciliation will not be easy, but for the victims and survivors, today we remember”.

https://www.sikh24.com/2018/11/03/jagmeet-singh-hopes-canada-will-recognize-inhuman-carnage-of-sikhs-as-genocide/#.W-G85OJRfIU

Sikh24.com – United Sikhs call upon Canadian Prime Minister and House of Commons to provide asylum to Afghan minorities

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 26 October 2018. United Sikhs this week announced a call to action in the House of Commons alongside several members of Parliament to address the increasingly desperate plight of religious minorities in Afghanistan.

After gaining the support of several policy stakeholders, including MPs Garnett Genuis, Elizabeth May, Cheryl Hardcastle, Harold Albrecht, Lisa Raitt, Arnold Viersen and Bob Saroya, following a series of targeted terrorist attacks against Sikhs over the summer, the non-profit human rights organization is now calling upon Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to urgently process asylum for minorities facing religious persecution.

“I was very pleased to join with so many members of various opposition parties, including the Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party, to table a petition in the House of Commons in support of persecuted minority communities in Afghanistan,” said MP Genuis, who led the news conference on Wednesday.

“The cross-party engagement on this will hopefully help to move the ball forward and bring about government action, in terms of advocacy, and in terms of facilitating the private sponsorship of refugees by the community here in Canada.”

The news conference comes within weeks of a written human rights statement the organization submitted to the United Nations during a Human Rights Council Session held in Geneva, Switzerland last month.

The three main areas of concern for religious minorities in Afghanistan, as outlined by United Sikhs, are personal safety/security, religious freedom, and the right to life.

As recent as last month, a marked uptick of attacks against Hindus and Sikhs across Afghanistan have become increasingly brutal. On Sept. 1, Satnam Singh and his son, who are both identifiable Sikhs, were shot and killed in their own shop in the Herat Province.

This is believed to be the second marked attack on the Sikh minority after the Taliban orchestrated a suicide bombing on July 1, in which 13 Hindu and Sikh dignitaries were targeted and killed while on their way to a meeting with government officials in Jallalabad.

“The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating for religious minorities,” said Jagdeep Singh, United Sikhs Director of Human Rights Policy, during the news conference.

“Sikhs are forced into segregation and Muslim conversion, and Gurdwaras (Sikh schools of spiritual learning) are regularly attacked by the Taliban and other extremist groups. In 1992, historic records indicate 60,000 lived in Afghanistan (down from 200,000 at one time). Today, there are as few as 1,200 in the country.”

In conjunction with the news conference, a petition of thousands of Canadian residents was formally submitted in the House of Commons, led by MP Garnett Genius, urging the Prime Minister to expedite asylum and grant the local Sikh and Hindu community with requested sponsorship.

“This petition calls for the government to do more to advocate with our Afghan counterpart for the rights of these minorities, and it also asks the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship to use the powers granted him to create a special program to help persecuted minorities in Afghanistan,” Genius stated to the Speaker while submitting the petition during regular proceedings on the House of Commons floor.

“The community here in Canada is ready to sponsor these communities. It’s been three years, it’s time for action.”

“At one time, Sikhs and Hindus of Afghanistan numbered in the hundreds of thousands, and today, less than 5,000 remain,” said MP Harold Albrecht in support of the petition presented.

“We’re calling on the Minister, pointing out to the Minister, that he already has the power, by legislation, to allow vulnerable minorities to come to Canada as privately sponsored refugees directly from the country where they face persecution, and further urging the Minister to raise the persecution faced by this community with the Afghan counterpart and to strongly advocate for more to be done to protect them.”

Building upon this effort, United Sikhs will formally request a meeting with the Prime Minister and Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship. In addition, the organization will continue to raise the issue with members of Congress in the United States and Members of Parliament in the United Kingdom.

We should not forget the plight of the Shia Hazaras, an ethnic and religious minority despised by most Afghans, whose mosques are regularly bombed by Taliban and other violent groups.
Man in Blue

https://www.sikh24.com/2018/10/26/united-sikhs-calls-upon-canadian-prime-minister-and-house-of-commons-to-provide-asylum-to-afghan-minorities/#.W9T-5uJoTIU

The Tribune – Swaraj steps in, AAP duo can visit Canada

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 23 October 2018. Aam Aadmi Party MLAs Kultar Singh Sandhwan and Amarjit Singh Sandoa, who were denied entry to Canada at Ottawa Airport on 21 July, are now eligible to enter Canada anytime.

The development has come to light with the second letter of External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj to Vidhan Sabha Speaker Rana K P Singh.

Expressing serious concern over the discourteous treatment to the AAP MLAs at the Canadian airport, Speaker Rana KP Singh had written to the External Affairs Minister for an action in the matter on July 25.

In the letter to the Speaker, the Union minister said the Indian High Commission in Ottawa had strongly raised the matter with the Canadian Government, seeking the circumstances and reasons for this deplorable action by the Canadian immigration authorities.

She wrote, “I have been informed that the Canadian Border Services Agency has conveyed to our Mission in Ottawa that due to privacy legislation they are unable to provide further details in the matter.

However, they have also conveyed that Kultar Singh and Amarjit Singh are eligible to visit Canada, if they choose to do so, at any future time.”

https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/punjab/swaraj-steps-in-aap-duo-can-visit-canada/672712.html

CBS News – Military Museums honour Sikhs connected with Canada’s military

Exhibit includes artifacts such as medals, postcards and toy soldiers

Anis Heydari

Calgary – Alberta – Canada, 20 October 2018. The Military Museums in Calgary have a new exhibit focusing on Sikhs and their connection to the military from a Canadian perspective.

The temporary display in the museum’s atrium will run for three days, and includes items such as medals, turban and cap badges, and even toys depicting Sikh soldiers. There are also poster boards detailing the soldiers’ lives and military service.

“We are showcasing our soldiers who are forgotten, who have been hidden heroes,” said Captain Charan Kamal Singh Dullat. The Canadian Forces officer, who is Sikh, is one of four organizers of the weekend exhibit.

The exhibit includes a number of items lent from the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada in Toronto.

“It’s fascinating to be able to share original artifacts, postcards, medals, toy soldiers, newspaper articles, and other great stories that sometimes people don’t know about,” said Pardeep Singh Nagra, executive director of the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada.

Organizers say it’s important to put a spotlight on groups that may not always be recognized for their contributions to major events in Canada’s past.

“It showcases a diversity in Alberta history,” said Michael Hawley, an exhibit co-organizer who is also an expert in South Asian religions.

“If we take a look at the way in which history very often gets written and gets remembered, it … isn’t as inclusive as it could be,” added Hawley.

The exhibit runs from October 19 to 21, 2018. A larger exhibit will be featured at the Military Museums in April 2019 in honour of Sikh Heritage Month.

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/military-museums-sikhs-canada-1.4871477?cmp=rss

CBC News – Ontario to allow turban-wearing Sikhs to ride motorcycles without helmets

The province joins Alberta, British Columbia and Manitoba in allowing exemption, which takes effect on October 18

Toronto – Ontario – Canada, 11 October 2018. Ontario will soon allow turban-wearing Sikhs to ride motorcycles without helmets, joining three other provinces in providing the exemption.

The Progressive Conservative government said Wednesday that the exemption, which goes into effect October 18, will recognize Sikh motorcycle riders’ civil rights and religious expression.

“The safety of our roads will always remain a priority,” Premier Doug Ford said in a statement. “But our government also believes that individuals have personal accountability and responsibility with respect to their own well-being.”

Last week, Tory legislator Prabmeet Sarkaria tabled a bill to amend the Highway Traffic Act to allow the helmet exemption, but the government said Wednesday it would be bringing about the change through a regulation.

“I have been calling for a helmet exemption for turbaned Ontario Sikh motorcyclists for several years now,” Sarkaria said in a statement.

“The wearing of the turban is an essential part of the Sikh faith and identity, and exemptions for Sikhs have been successfully implemented in other provinces in Canada and across the world.”

Alberta, British Columbia, Manitoba allow exemption

Turbaned Sikhs are already exempt from wearing motorcycle helmets in Alberta, Manitoba and British Columbia.

The United Kingdom implemented a motorcycle helmet exemption for Sikhs in 1976, the Ontario government noted.
The Sikh Motorcycle Club of Ontario applauded the decision. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Ford said the move to allow the helmet exemption came after listening to the Sikh community. He also said it fulfilled a promise made during the spring election campaign.

Ontario motorcycle club wants helmet exemption for turban-wearing Sikhs

The Sikh Motorcycle Club of Ontario welcomed the government’s announcement.

“Soon we will have a right to ride with our pride,” it said in a Facebook post.

Expert raises safety concerns

Ontario’s previous Liberal government had resisted calls for the exemption, saying that relevant academic research and legal decisions supported not granting it to Sikh motorcycle riders because it would pose a road safety risk.

Raynald Marchand, general manager of programs at the Canada Safety Council, called the helmet exemption “disappointing” but not surprising since Ford had been signalling the move for months.

“The main implication is that we’re going to get people who will get hurt,” he said. “There’s no question that if they do fall, (a turban) will not provide the protection that a helmet would provide.”

Sikhs on motorcycles must wear helmets, Ontario government says

Marchand, an expert in motorcycle safety, said the exemption should be granted to turban-wearing Sikhs only after they receive their full motorcycle licences, not during training.

“They are most vulnerable at the learning stage,” he said. “They might also find that wearing a helmet is actually a pretty good thing.”

https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/ontario-allows-sikhs-to-ride-motorcycles-without-helmet-1.4858361?cmp=rss

Dawn – Europe’s perplexed Pakistanis

Pervez Hoodbhoy

City of Stockholm – Sweden, 06 October 2018. Pakistani immigrants to Europe tend to get a bad press. I was, therefore, pleasantly surprised by my brief encounter in Stockholm three weeks ago with a dozen or so well-settled, ordinary working-class Pakistanis.

Some had migrated from Mirpur (AJK), others from KP and Sindh. Their attitudes and lifestyles challenge the common negative stereotypes of Pakistani migrants in Europe.

Do you speak and read Swedish reasonably well? Are local laws fair and non-discriminatory? Do your children go to Swedish schools and do they have Swedish friends? Can you feel this to be your own country?

Receiving positive responses, I slowly moved on to the most sensitive of questions and held my breath: Would you be okay if your daughter were to date a Swedish guy? Marry him? And, finally, is Sweden where someday you might choose to die and be buried?

Except for the very last question (where some wavered) all other answers were again affirmative. Significantly, these were not well-heeled upper-class folks who readily form a globalised community.

Instead, they were bus drivers, hospital staff, and other blue-collar workers in love with their adopted country. They were trying hard to deal with the us-versus-them binary.

Were such attitudes more common the sickeningly familiar caricature of the backward, anti-freedom, unassimilable Pakistani migrant would vanish. But this wasn’t so clear once I probed further: could you kindly guess how many other Pakistan-Swedes are also largely positive about their new country?

Opinions varied but the consensus was clear — only a minority of first-generation Pakistan-Swedes, like this particular group, is fully at ease. Since they acknowledge getting a fair deal in their new country, what alienates the majority?

Answer: discomfort with the bay hayaee (sexual laxity) of locals and their deen say doori (non-adherence to religion — any religion). As with other Pakistani immigrants in Europe, some stridently reject the core values of their host country and condemn the ‘immoral’ lifestyles of the majority.

Why do Pakistanis enjoying the West’s pluralism stay silent about pluralism within Pakistan?

This unctuous piety is sometimes dubious, it stands against a pioneering research study putting sexuality as a key motivation for young Pakistani men to emigrate.

In his book: Masculinity, Sexuality, and Illegal Immigration, Human Smuggling from Pakistan to Europe, Ali Nobil Ahmad, a fellow at the Zentrum Moderner Orient in Berlin, finds the pull of deep-seated psychological forces no less important than the push of economic forces.

After interviewing dozens of young immigrant men from lower-middle-class backgrounds, Ahmad concludes that lure of adventure and libidinal frustration drives even relatively economically secure migrants.

Risking life and limb, they hope to escape a conservative society where every form of contact with women is forbidden, other than a family-arranged marriage, into a world where pleasures of the flesh are tauntingly visible through advertising and the global media.

Parents often marry them off before they depart but the problem doesn’t end there.

The sweet fruits of the Promised Land are enjoyed for a while but long term adaptation to the metropolises of Europe is difficult for many.

Most perplexing is the freedom enjoyed by Western women, with whom liaisons are short term. To shut out their ‘corrupting influence’, families arrange for cousin marriages or import brides. These are routine in Britain’s poorest areas where immigrants have ghettoised.

Growing conservatism and poor schooling in the homeland has made Pakistani immigrants less absorbable globally. As Pakistan steadily becomes less liberal and goes the Al Huda way, the changes are visible in habits and dress. The burqa issue resounds throughout Europe. That welcome for unassimilable immigrants has dried out is unsurprising.

A highly visible trend among Pakistanis is greater immersion in one’s own religious community. Even in North America where Pakistanis are generally wealthier than whites, the social life of most expatriates, the richest ones excepted, organises itself around mosques and Islamic centres.

Toronto, for example, is a city divided among Deobandis, Barelvis, Shias, Bohras, and Ismailis who have built their own places of worship and largely interact only among themselves. Ahmadis have a worship-cum-housing complex spread over 35 acres.

Isolation from the mainstream has extracted a price in the general well-being of immigrants, particularly for Pakistan-origin Brits. Muslim school students, of which a full 40 per cent are Pakistanis, have been documented as underachievers.

Muhammad Anwar, a social scientist and author of British Muslims and State Policies argues that Pakistani-Brits generally have education achievement levels lying at the low end of all ethnic minorities in Britain.

On the other hand, immigrants who share values with the host country can rise high. Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and home secretary, Sajid Javid, are obvious examples. Expectedly, wealthier, upper-class Pakistanis are familiar with Western cultural mores.

Educated in top-notch schools, they find the West hospitable. This year, as every year, thousands will make their way to universities across North America, Europe, and Australia. Others will rely on immigration sponsorship by family members who are already citizens.

Most, whether wealthy or poor, will try their hardest to never return home and many will succeed in becoming first-generation immigrants. Some dream of wealth, others of personal fulfilment. Still others want to escape a suffocating social and physical environment. Most will be preoccupied in making a new life for themselves.

But exceptions aside, such as the few I met in Stockholm, Pakistani immigrants to the West don’t insist on changing things back in the homeland.

That Pakistan needs to end discrimination against its ethnic minorities, women, and non-Muslims is heard but rarely, and that too only from Baloch, Sindhi and Kashmiri nationalist groups.

One could have expected broader participation because immigrants benefit from open pluralist societies that, by law, must treat all citizens equally. This, of course, is why Pakistanis choose to immigrate.

If first-generation immigrants lack activism, perhaps the second generation will compensate some day. When such voices for justice are heard loud and clear, and if they are joined by immigrant communities from other countries in demanding changes back home, multiple noxious xenophobic movements in the West will collapse like a pricked balloon. Let’s hope.

The author teaches physics in Lahore and Islamabad.

https://www.dawn.com/news/1437173/europes-perplexed-pakistanis

Sikh24.com – Canada can’t crush freedom of expression of its citizens on Khalistan Issue, says Canadian Diplomat

Sikh24 Editors

Chandigarh – Panjab – India, 02 October 2018. Mr Nadir Patel, Canada’s High Commissioner to India, paid obeisance at the holiest Sikh shrine Sri Harmandar Sahib on October 1. He presented a “Rumala Sahib” before the living Sikh master Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji while paying obeisance inside sanctum sanctorum.

Accompanied by his wife Graham Patel and a little daughter, Nadir Patel partook “langar” and performed “sewa” in the world’s largest community kitchen i.e. Guru Ram Dass Langar.

He was felicitated with a golden model of Sri Harmandar Sahib, set of religious books and a “Siropa” (robe of honour) by the SGPC president S Gobind Singh Longowal.

Interacting with media, Mr Nadir Patel hailed the Sikhs residing in Canada for their work to robust communal harmony across the world. He said that the Sikhs have secured a good status and reputation in Canada due to their hard work and sharp intellect.

Replying to a query posed by a mainstream journalist on the pro-Khalistan upsurge in Canada, Patel said that Canada can’t crush the freedom of expression of its citizen. He also stated that the Canadian government will continue to support the idea of united India and will cooperate with the Indian agencies.

https://www.sikh24.com/2018/10/02/canada-cant-crush-freedom-of-expression-of-its-citizens-on-khalistan-issue-says-canadian-diplomat/#.W7OHOvZoTIU

The Hindu – Canada strips Aung San Suu Kyi of honorary citizenship

Ottawa had given the long-detained democracy advocate and Nobel laureate the rare honour in 2007.

Ottawa – Ontario – Canada, 28 September 2018. Canada’s parliament has voted unanimously to effectively strip Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi of her honorary Canadian citizenship over the Rohingya crisis.

Ottawa had given the long-detained democracy advocate and Nobel laureate the rare honour in 2007.

But her international reputation has become tarnished by her refusal to call out the atrocities by her nation’s military against the Rohingya Muslims minority, which Ottawa last week declared a genocide.

“In 2007, the House of Commons granted Aung San Suu Kyi the status of honorary Canadian citizen. Today, the House unanimously passed a motion to remove this status,” said Adam Austen, spokesman for Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, on Thursday.

A brutal military campaign that started last year drove more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar into neighboring Bangladesh, where they now live in cramped refugee camps, fearful of returning to mainly Buddhist Myanmar despite a repatriation deal.

Many have given accounts of extrajudicial killings, sexual violence and arson.

The military has denied nearly all wrongdoing, justifying its crackdown as a legitimate means of rooting out Rohingya militants.

But after a fact-finding mission, the United Nations on Thursday set up a panel to prepare indictments against Myanmar’s army chief and five other top military commanders for crimes against humanity.

Ms Suu Kyi’s democratically-elected government remains in a delicate power balance with the generals, whose presence in parliament gives them an effective veto on constitutional changes.

Mr Austen cited Ms Suu Kyi’s “persistent refusal to denounce the Rohingya genocide” for the withdrawal of the Canadian honour, which is symbolic and comes with no special privileges.

“We will continue to support the Rohingyas by providing humanitarian assistance, imposing sanctions against Myanmar’s generals and demanding that those responsible be held accountable before a competent international body,” he added.

Honorary Canadian citizenship has only been granted to five others including the Dalai Lama, girls education advocate Malala Yousafzai and Nelson Mandela.

https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/canada-strips-aung-san-suu-kyi-of-honorary-citizenship/article25067947.ece?homepage=true