Rohingya community centre opens in Kitchener

Rohingya community centre opens in Kitchener

The Rohingya Centre of Canada was opened in Kitchener on Saturday to serve as a hub for the Rohingya community in the region.

“Our people have survived immense loss and displacement. Rohingya Centre is a community-led inclusive, service-oriented community centre that strives to provide innovative, creative, quality services to make a positive impact on the Region of Waterloo and beyond and to build ties with the wider community, in the proud spirit of Canadian multiculturalism,” said the Centre. “Serving as the main hub of the Rohingya community in the country, the aim of the centre is to unite Rohingya-Canadians so that we have a safe place to come together, thrive, and ultimately build an inclusive society.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called the Rohingya "one of, if not the, most discriminated people in the world" and 600 of Canada's 1000 Rohingya live in Waterloo region, according to the Rohingya Centre of Canada.

The opening was attended by politicians, community leaders and supporters.

“I just wanted to bring greetings from New York to my friends in the Rohingya community in Kitchener. I’m so delighted to hear about the new centre that’s being inaugurated today. I want to send you my very best wishes,” said Bob Rae, Canada’s U.N. Ambassador and a strong advocate for the rights of the Rohingya people, in a special message to the organization.

“I can assure you that the struggle of the Rohingya people is still very close to my heart, it’s very close to the heart of Canada. We’re working very hard at the U.N. I know it’s frustrating, it is difficult. I know many of you have families in Rakhine and other parts of Asia and elsewhere and we need to continue to work hard to bring people to Canada and to make it possible for family reunification to happen and to continue to fight for accountability, to fight for justice,” he added.

On 20 September 2018, the House of Commons unanimously declared the actions of the Myanmar military against the Rohingya Muslims a genocide.