Canada’s Response to the Rohingya Crisis in Bangladesh: Feminist International Assistance Policy in Action

Ishrar Habib, Political Section, Embassy of the People’s Republic of China, Dhaka, Bangladesh


The Rohingya Crisis and Response


Although Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) has been extensively studied in terms of its theoretical bearing, research investigating how the policy manifests itself in its execution has been inadequate. In its official strategy for responding to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh, Canada seeks to meet the “unique needs of women and girls” which is in line with the FIAP. As a result, the country has been directing its funding to purposes that address gender-based issues; one of them is gender-based violence (GBV), which is also one of the core priority areas mentioned in the FIAP. In order to study how this priority manifests in action, this paper evaluates Canada’s humanitarian assistance/funding towards the GBV sector in the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Joint Response Plans for Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis. It also made a comparative study of the funding offered by Canada and other national government donors towards the GBV sector in each of the mentioned year’s JRP. It has been found that Canada’s contribution alone makes up 45.4 per cent of the total funding received for GBV purpose in 2019. Moreover, while Canada was the fourth largest donor in 2018, it stood first in 2019 and 2020 among all country donors of the GBV sector. Analyzing the findings, the paper marks that Canada’s Feminist International Assistance policy rightfully plays out in its response to the Rohingya crisis, thus reinforcing Canada’s reputation as a gender-sensitive donor among other countries having similar pro-gender norms within their foreign policy frameworks.

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CCSEAS Conference 2021 |