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Gov’t Impose Heavy Restrictions on Rohingyas’ Movement

By Rohingya Eye & Rohingya Mirror

Maungdaw, Arakan (Rohingya Vision) — Myanmar’s government has started to impose heavy restrictions on the movements of Rohingyas for their refusal to accept ‘the Identity Cards for National Consideration’ known as Green Cards, according to the reliable sources.

Earlier, the authorities have tried to coax, threaten and beat the Rohingyas to compel them to accept the Green Cards.

For instance, last Tuesday, around 30 Border Guard Police (BGP) personnel under Camp Base 18 led by its commander, Major Nyein Chan Aye, raided ‘Inn Din (Aan Daang)’ village in southern Maungdaw. They started beating the villagers and threatening them of shooting to death unless they accept the Green Cards. However, no Rohingyas appeared to receive the cards but all went into hiding later.

Now, since this method is not working anymore, the authorities in Maungdaw Township has not only stopped issuing permits to them for inter-township travels between Maungdaw and Buthidaung Townships but also started imposing heavy restrictions on their intra-township movements for refusing to accept the cards.

“On 11th August Tuesday, the buses carrying Rohingya passengers from northern Maungdaw to the downtown of Maungdaw were stopped at the check-post of BGP Headquarter in ‘Kyi Kan Pyin (Khawar Bil)’ village. Although the passengers showed the Border Guard Police the permits from the village administrations or the receipts of handing the White Cards over to the authorities (Temporary Registration Cards), the police didn’t recognize them but threatened them they would need ‘Green Cards’ if they wanted to travel around the township. Later, they extorted Kyat 1,000 from each of the passengers and let them pass the gate.

However, yesterday, the police at the check-posts stopped all the buses carrying Rohingya passengers and forced the passengers to get off the bus. And they started checking their passes or permits. Although the passengers showed the police the documents normally required, they (the police) didn’t allow them to pass the check-post and forced them to turn back. Rather, the police seized their documents

Besides, the Rohingyas trying to go back to their respective homes from the downtown of Maungdaw were also blocked from passing the check-posts. So, they are now stuck in the downtown” said an elderly Rohingya in Maungdaw.

“Moreover, the Border Guard Police threatened ‘if you want to travel within or outside the township in the future, you need to accept the green cards and take the cards along with you. If not, you will be tortured and detained; and won’t be able to move anywhere,” he continued.

The authorities are also trying to stop the local Rohingyas from travelling from a village to another. The police forces are being deployed at the entry of every village. The locals are worried they will be arrested, tortured and be asked for ransom by the police when they come out of their homes and travel around.

The green card (not to be mistaken with anything equivalent with US’ Green Cards), with two years stay permit in the country, is a temporary identity card issued to foreigners willing to have the chance to apply for citizenship consideration.

The government, since last June, has started giving the cards to the Rohingyas with an obvious intention of rendering them with a foreigner status on their own land. Therefore, the Rohingyas, being an indigenous people of the country, have refused to accept the cards.

The Rohingyas as well as any other ethnic people in Burma (now Myanmar) equally held NRCs (National Registration Cards) post its independence and until late 1980s. Later, the citizenship status of other ethnic people were upgraded with Citizenship Cards known as ‘Pink Cards’ but that of the Rohingyas downgraded with the White Cards (Temporary Registration Cards).

The government revoked the white cards earlier this year and took them back from Rohingyas latest by March this year. Post that, the government has planned to issue Green Cards equivalent to the “application for Citizenship Consideration, not even application for Citizenship.”

[Edited by M.S. Anwar]

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