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Authorities Impose New Ban on Rohingya Fishermen

By Rohingya Eye | January 31, 2017

Maungdaw — The Myanmar authorities imposed a new ban on the Rohingya fishermen in southern Maungdaw on January 27, preventing them from fishing in the Naff River and the Bay of Bengal, it has been reported.

The government’s ban is seemingly aimed to force the Rohingya people to accept the National Verification Card (NVC), which the Rohingya community rejects outright.

U Aye Myint, a human rights activist in Maungdaw said “first, they have put restrictions on farming on their lands and logging in forests. Now, the authorities have banned them from fishing in the sea. The government likely want them to kneel down before them and accept NVC Cards or lose all their means to livelihoods.”

Earlier, the local Rohingya fishermen were allowed to set off to the sea for fishing by fidying boats. Since October 2016, the Myanmar armed forces completely banned their access to fishing in the sea.

From January 5 to January 27, having charged money from the local Rohingya fishermen in southern Maungdaw, the authorities — the BGP, the Village Administrations and the Sarapha (the Defense Security Service) — allowed them to use fishing nets for fishing on small scales on the seashores and the river banks.

On January 27, the administrator of the village of ‘Inn Din (Aang Daang) and the Border Guard Police (BGP) issued an order that the fishermen in the villagers would be given access to the sea only when they (the villagers) agree to accept the NVC cards.

“They are trying to pressure us. But we are not accepting the NVCs. That’s why they are trying to make us face starvation”, a local Rohingya fisherman in southern Maungdaw.

Similar bans have also been imposed on the fishermen in the neighboring villages, ‘Kyauk Pandu and Khwa Chaung.’

Besides, the authorities in southern Maungdaw have issued a rash order that the new born Rohingya babies won’t be rregistered as long as the locals do not agree to accept the NVC cards.

The Rohingya people categorically reject the NVC ID card because according to 1982 Citizenship of Burma (Myanmar), it is issued to the foreigners recently migrated to Myanmar and awaiting the approval of their Application for the Naturalized Citizenship status. Therefore, accepting the NVC Card will deprive them of Indigenous Status and Citizenship Rights by birth.

[Edited by M.S. Anwar]

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