Politics

Bob Rae named Canada's special envoy on humanitarian, refugee issues

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has appointed former interim Liberal leader Bob Rae as Canada’s special envoy on humanitarian and refugee issues.

Former interim Liberal leader has been serving as the government's point man on the Rohingya crisis

Bob Rae is Canada's new special envoy for humanitarian and refugee issues. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Former interim Liberal leader Bob Rae has been named Canada's special envoy on humanitarian and refugee issues.

A news release from Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office said Rae will work closely with the international community and the United Nations on a coordinated international response to refugee crises.

He will continue to lead diplomatic efforts to resolve the Rohingya crisis, work he began as special envoy to Myanmar after his appointment to that post in October 2019.

"We share a global responsibility to meet the needs of displaced and vulnerable people around the world. In the many years I've known special envoy Rae, he's always served Canadians through his thoughtful insights and professionalism," Trudeau said in a statement.

"I thank him for his important work on the humanitarian and security crisis in Myanmar's Rakhine State, and I know he will continue to serve Canadians and the world greatly in his expanded role."

Trudeau appointed Rae as special envoy to Myanmar to explore the underlying causes of the Rohingya crisis and prepare recommendations for Canada's response.

In that role, he made several visits to the region and later recounted the horrific personal stories he heard during visits to refugee camps in neighbouring Bangladesh.

'Gruelling experience'

"This has been a very gruelling, emotional experience. I can't quite describe adequately to you the extent of the humanitarian crisis and the sense that we are in a desperate race against time to make sure people are safe," he told a Senate committee in June 2018.

The world community has condemned Myanmar's military government and criticized its civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, for her refusal to condemn the military or take action to stop rape, murder and genocide.

She became the first person ever to be stripped of honourary Canadian citizenship.

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