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Rae's recommendations

Bob Rae says Canada needs to consider granting refugee and resettlement status to Myanmar's persecuted ethnic Rohingya, 700,000 of whom have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape a brutal campaign by Myanmar's military.

Rae, who was appointed Canada's special envoy to the seven-month-old crisis, makes that recommendation and others in his final report released today.

He says Canada needs to step up its spending on the mass migration crisis and should play a leading role in the investigation by the International Criminal Court of possible war crimes.

He also suggests the federal government could target some of Myanmar's military leaders under its new Magnitsky Act that seeks to isolate human rights abusers.

But Rae stops short of recommending further sanctions because, saying those would only hurt the 50 million people of an already impoverished country.

The 39-page report is noticeably silent on another major issue: how to address Nobel laureate and honorary Canadian citizen Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's de facto political leader who has been widely criticized for not speaking out against the atrocities being committed against the Rohingya.

The Liberal government has expressed the view that Suu Kyi is not in charge of her country's powerful military, which once held her under house arrest, and that targeting her does not address the main crisis.

Rae made two trips to Myanmar in recent months and describes seeing what he essentially characterizes as a slow march towards genocide.

The Canadian government and others have referred to the crisis as ethnic cleansing, because branding the crisis genocide would carry an international legal obligation to intervene, potentially with force.

Rae recommends Canada take a lead role with like-minded countries in a UN genocide investigation.

He also invokes the UN's Responsibility to Protect doctrine, which Canada helped create more than a decade ago, a doctrine that has been widely criticized for its failure to stop carnage elsewhere — notably Syria.



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