Canadian ambassador deletes tweet, photos of New Year's Day visit to Myanmar beach

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar amid reports of ethnic cleansing

January 02, 2018

Peter MacArthur, left, Canada's ambassador to Indonesia, poses with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. MacArthur was appointed to the position in 2016. (Twitter)

A Canadian ambassador has deleted a New Year's Day tweet he made while on a visit to Myanmar as that country continues to struggle through a brutal humanitarian crisis.

Peter MacArthur, who serves as Canada's ambassador to Indonesia, praised the country's beaches in a posting that was published just before 10 a.m. Monday.


MacArthur deleted a tweet posted Monday from Myanmar, as that country continues to struggle through a humanitarian crisis created by the persecution of its Muslim minority population. (Twitter)

"First day of 2018 unfolded on a Myanmar beach where the great surf is pleasingly turquoise coloured, warm, clean and clear — perfect for snorkelling to visit with nature and the fish," MacArthur tweeted, along with three photos of empty beaches.

MacArthur was on a private visit to Myanmar, also known as Burma, where his wife Karen serves as Canada's ambassador to the country.

The posting is a stark contrast to the images of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims seen fleeing the country, as its government is accused of waging an ethnic cleansing campaign. 

Canada has strongly condemned the escalating violence and sent former MP and Ontario premier Bob Rae to Myanmar as a special envoy to document the challenges on the ground.

"The government of Canada takes the situation in Myanmar very seriously and is deeply concerned by the ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity that are occurring there," Brianne Maxwell, a spokesperson for Global Affairs told CBC News in an email. 

"Ambassador MacArthur was advised to delete the tweet in question," she said. 

In an interim report released last month, Rae had difficulty describing the depths of the crisis, saying "seeing these words in print makes me realize how inadequate words are to express the extent of the damage and trauma."

MacArthur was appointed to the position of ambassador in 2016. 

According to a government of Canada website, he first joined the public service in 1982 and has previously worked as the director general of the South, Southeast Asia and Oceania Bureau at the Department of Foreign Affairs.


Katie Simpson

Katie Simpson is a senior reporter in the Parliamentary Bureau of CBC News. Prior to joining the CBC, she spent nearly a decade in Toronto covering local and provincial issues.

CBC's Journalistic Standards and Practices
Report Typo or Error