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Marriage Restriction Against Rohingya Community Still Exists

Report by Ali Kyaw | Written by M.S. Anwar

September 16, 2013

Severe marriage restriction against Rohingya community was put forward by the abolished NaSaKa (Border Security Force). Despite the need to pay ransom amount of money for marraige permission, Rohingyas had to got through red tape which could take months to years. As NaSaKa department was abolished by the government of Myanmar on 12th July 2013, Rohingyas thought there would be no more restrictions against their marraiges. But all hope in vain!!

On 16th August 2013, the head of the department of General Adminstration, Rakhine State, announced that Rohingyas have now to get marriage permission from the village admininstration. The problem here is that although Rohingyas are majority in Maung Daw and Buthidaung Townships, most of the villages in these townships are administered by Rakhines. Even if there is only one Rakhine living in a Rohingya village, he is chosen as the administrator of the village over the Rohingya villagers. These Rakhine administrators often humiliate Rohingya people and extort huge of amount of money to issue marriage permission.

The village of Shujah (Shwe Za), nothern Maung Daw, is an example. The administrator of the village is a Rakhine bigot called Maung Saw Tun. He harasses Rohingya men and women coming for marriage permission. “We were unable to get marriage permissions during NaSaKa time because we were/are very poor. On 14th September 2013, we went to our village administrator, Maung Saw Tun, to apply for marriage permission. He asked for Kyat 50,000 from each of us. When we requested him to issue the permissions with Kyat 15,000 per person (the money we had), he (the administrator) not only refused to issue the marriage permissions but also verbally abused and physically assaulted us” recounted two Rohingya women, [Jannat Ara Bibi D/o Nabi Hussain (Age 28) and Dil Ara Bibi D/o Rashid Ahmed (Age 30)], in tears.

“Though the goverment of Myanmar say things are getting better, here, on the ground, the situation of Rohingya is getting worse day by day. And we still have to go through the same red tape for marraige permission. Besides, the government has abolished only the name of NaSaKa, the same officers (who were NaSaKa) are still in charge and carrying out atrocities in different forms (especially in the form of Security Force and MaKaPha (the institution that has replaced NaSaKa)” said an elderly Rohingya.

Shwe Za (Shujah) Village (Photo: Google Map)
Shwe Za (Shujah) Village (Photo: Google Map)