Politics

Amid 'deep concern' for Rohingya refugees, Trudeau meets with Myanmar leader Suu Kyi

CBC News

November 10, 2017

Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi greets Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Da Nang, Vietnam, where leaders have gathered for the start of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit. (CBC)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his special envoy to Myanmar, Bob Rae, met with Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Friday, before the start of APEC trade talks in Da Nang, Vietnam.

During the 45-minute meeting, they talked about Suu Kyi's perceived inaction on the Rohingya refugee crisis, which has seen hundreds of thousands of Rohingya flee from Myanmar's Rakhine state into neighbouring Bangladesh in the face of violence at home.

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Rae told reporters after that Trudeau was forthright about the level of violence and the extent of the problems causing people to flee.

"From my point of view that was extremely important for her to hear, directly from Canada's prime minister. I think it was also important for us to hear her out," Rae told reporters.

Bob Rae, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's special envoy to Myanmar, said Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi told him she is committed to helping bring the Rohingya home. He also said she should offer reassurances they will be safe. (CBC)

"From her perspective, she's doing what she can in a difficult circumstance. I think it's fair to say that we feel that more needs to be done and more could be done."

The former Ontario premier and interim Liberal leader says resolutions will be raised at the United Nations General Assembly, the main policy-making body of the UN.

"These are not judgments that are unique to Canada, we're not alone in raising these questions," Rae said.

The meeting comes as Myanmar faces allegations of large-scale human rights abuses against the Rohingya Muslim minority population in the predominately Buddhist nation.

Suu Kyi, a Nobel Laureate and an honorary Canadian citizen, has been criticized for not speaking out against the violence aimed at Rohingya Muslims in her country, which the UN calls ethnic cleansing.

Trudeau spoke to Suu Kyi in September amid questions about her leadership at a time when many were accusing the country's military of carrying out ethnic cleansing against this long-persecuted group.

During that call, Trudeau "stressed the particular importance of the state counsellor as a moral and political leader," according to a readout.

Last month, Trudeau announced Rae would visit Myanmar on a fact-finding mission and report back on what role Canada can play in ending the humanitarian crises in the Southeast Asian country.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Canada 40th Commemorative session in Manila, Philippines, on Tuesday. While there, he asked member countries to accept Canada into the regional and global security-focused ASEAN summit. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
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Trudeau shakes hands with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte during a photo for the ASEAN-Canada 40th Commemorative session. Duterte has been called the Trump of the East for his brash style. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
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New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern shares a laugh with Trudeau at the start of a bilateral meeting in Manila on Monday. Ardern was one of many world leaders Trudeau met during his trip to Asia, which started Wednesday in Vietnam. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
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Trudeau didn't just meet with other heads of states. On Sunday, some customers at a fast food restaurant in Manila were able to get a selfie with the prime minister. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
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Trudeau also waved to locals from his limousine outside a Manila women's health centre. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
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The prime minister with a young girl at the Likhaan Women's Health centre in Manila. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
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The prime minister arrives for the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) Summit in Da Nang, Vietnam, on Friday. (Kham/Reuters)
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Trudeau shakes hands during an official welcome ceremony with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and his wife, Nguyen Thi Hien, at the APEC summit on Friday. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe shakes hands with Trudeau at the start of a bilateral meeting at the APEC summit. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
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Trudeau meets with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto during a bilateral meeting at the APEC summit. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
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Chile's President Michelle Bachelet attends the APEC-ASEAN dialogue, on the sidelines of the APEC summit, with Trudeau. (Jorge Silva/AP)
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The prime minister arrives in Ho Chi Minh City on Thursday. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
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Trudeau walks with Lei Hai Tra, the acting chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange, to a roundtable meeting. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
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The prime minister symbolically rings the gong at the Ho Chi Minh City Stock Exchange. The building and the city are named after communist revolutionary hero Ho Chi Minh. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
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Students at the Ton Duc Thang University greet the prime minister. While there, Trudeau took part in a student-focused Q&A session. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
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Trudeau poses for a selfie with a woman after stopping for a beverage at a café. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
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Trudeau waves as he arrives in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Wednesday. The two-day state visit ahead of APEC summit marked only the second meeting between the two countries' leaders since the end of war in 1975 and the normalization of relations. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
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Trudeau meets Vietnamese Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan at the National Assembly's Office. The bilateral relationship between Canada and Vietnam has been strained over the years by Canada's involvement in the Vietnam War. (Minh Hoang/AP)
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Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc raises a glass with Trudeau during a state banquet. Trudeau said in a press conference with his Vietnam counterpart that Canada would not be rushed into signing a renewed TPP trade agreement. (Adrian Wyld/Canadian Press)
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