29th March 2014
Sittwe (Akyab), Myanmar – Myanmar Government Spokeperson, U Ye Htut, on Saturday said that Muslims would not be allowed to register as ‘Rohingya’ in its first census in three decades due to begin tomorrow. The announcement came out after his Rakhine trip yesterday that also included Immigration minister U Khin Yi.
He said this despite the assurance by UN that Rohingyas, like any other people in the world, would have the right to choose an ethnic identity they like. According to historical evidences, the term ‘Rohingya’ is historical name of the Muslims in Arakan.
The move came as Rakhine (Magh) extremists in an unrest-hit western state vowed to boycott the census over fears it could lead to official recognition for the Rohingya, viewed by the United Nations as among the world’s most persecuted minorities, whose ethnic identity was stripped off during the era of the late General Ne Win.
“If a household wants to identify themselves as ‘Rohingya’, we will not register it,” government spokesman Ye Htut told reporters in Yangon.
He said people could call themselves “Bengali”, a term used by the authorities who blatantly accuse most Rohingya as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.
Foreign aid workers fled the restive western state of Rakhine this week after marauding Buddhist mobs attacked their offices as tensions escalated in the run up to the census.
By doing so, the government has proven that they are not yet ready to accept the international standards and hence, all their talks on political refroms are empty rhetoric.
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(Source: AFP on Yahoo News)
*Modifications have been done as necessary. Hence, the modifications should not be considered to be parts of original AFP News.