By Rvision Correspondent
Sittwe (Akyab), Arakan State
(Rohingya Vision) – An appeal by a sitting Rohingya MP U Shwe Maung to lift the ban that has barred him from contesting in the upcoming November 8 election was dismissed by the Rakhine State Election Commission last Tuesday.
On August 22, the Maungdaw District Election Commission banned his participation in the election to run for the second term in Myanmar’s lower house of parliament (House of Representatives) representing Buthidaung Township Constituency claiming that his parents were citizens at the time of their births.
Along with him, Daw Khin Khin Lwin, a Rohingya woman running for a seat in the Upper House (House of Nationalities) from the same constituency was also banned by the election commission.
“Although he provided the ample evidences to prove that both of his parents were citizens at births, yet the Rakhine Election Commission dismissed his appeal without any consideration. He has provided the documentary proofs such as the National Registration (NRCs) of his parents, the only Identity Card that every national of Burma held after 1957; the ID card of his father serving as Police officer in Burma Police; and many other evidences.
The dismissal was purely racist and discriminatory” said an internal source.
U Shwe Maung is currently serving in the lower house representing Buthidaung Township Constituency from the ruling party USDP (Union Solidarity and Development Party). Recently, U Shwe Maung has resigned from the USDP Party to take part in the election for a seat in the lower house as an Independent Representative from the constituency.
Moreover, the appeal by Daw Khin Khin Lwin to withdraw the ban against her contesting in the poll was also dismissed.
“In any country in the world, the citizenship status of the people and the rights of the people as citizens get upgraded. For example, if the parents are not citizens of a country, their children born in the country become the citizens and get the equal rights.
But for us here, it is the other way round. Our grandparents were citizens of this country. They had the equal rights. And our parents have become half-citizens. And we have become foreigners. We don’t have any rights at all.
It’s quite ridiculous as well as heart-wrenching” said a local Rohingya in Sittwe.
Both U Shwe Maung and Daw Khin Khin Lwin have still have a little hope as they have six more days to take their appeals to the Union Election Commission Level.
There are total 24 Rohingya candidates — candidates representing a few Rohingya parties as well as independent ones– and applied for the seats in the regional parliaments, the House of Representatives and the House of Nationalities, representing the constituencies in Sittwe, Buthidaung and Maungdaw. They all were rejected from contesting in the election by the respective district election commissions in Sittwe and Maungdaw on the basis of their race and religion.
[Edited by M.S. Anwar]
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