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Rohingya Face Travel Restrictions for their Ethnic Identity Claim


6thApril 2014

Maungdaw, Arakan– Border Trade Department in Maungdaw started restricting local Rohingyas from travelling to Bangladesh for their ethnic identity claim in the ongoing population census since 3rd April 2014.

“Post 1990, the government of Myanmar banned us from travelling to capital city, Yangon. Post 2000, the government started restricting Rohingyas living in Mayu area (Maungdaw-Buthidaung) from even travelling to Akyab (Sittwe) no matter how serious how one’s situation or health condition is.

Therefore, we go to Bangladesh for medical treatements using 7-day-border-pass issued by Border Trade Department in cooperation with immigration, Maungdaw. Nevertheless, starting on 3rdApril 2014, Border Trade Department in Maungdaw began restricting us from travelling to Bangladesh because we are trying to claim our ethnic identity ‘Rohingya’ within the legal boundary.

Officers of the department said “we will only issue you travel permission only when you can show your identity card with the term ‘Rohingya’ mentioned on it.” And Border Trade Department issued no permission to the people applied for the permission” said a local of Maungdaw.

“Similarly, Rohingyas in rural areas of Maungdaw, Buthidaung and others even need travel permission to travel to the downtowns of the respective townships. Now, HlunHteins (Security Force) at the checkposts of the Zawmadat (Laambaaguna) bridge and the Shwe Zar (Shujah) bridge are harrassing people saying ‘show us the Rohingya Identity Card, then we will allow you to cross the bridge.’ We are really worried they will behave more inhumanely in the time to come” he added.