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Rohingyas Forced, Beaten and Arrested for Refusal of Green Cards

By Rohingya Mirror

Maugdaw, Arakan State (Rohingya Vision) — The Myanmar authorities has recently started to force, beat and arrest the local Rohingyas in Maungdaw Township as they refuse to accept the Green Card, ID Card for National Verification, according to the local sources.

The authorities in Maungdaw and Buthidaung have started to issue the Green Cards (not to be mistaken with the likes of US’ Green Cards) to the Rohingyas since June 2015. However, the Rohingyas refuse to accept these cards because they are issued to the foreigners recently arrived in Myanmar and valid for only two years.

Therefore, accepting these cards will automatically disregard the fact that they are an indigenous people with the identity ‘Rohingya,’ disqualify their citizenship by birth and categorize them as the foreigners.

Nevertheless, the Myanmar government is using different tactics to force the Rohingyas to accept the cards. At the end, the immigration stopped issuing inter-townships travel permissions and Border Pass to Bangladesh to them unless they accepted the Green Cards. Later, they visited one village to another and used threats to force them accept the ID cards.

While issuing the cards to the people by force, some agents of the authorities in the Rohingya community collaborated with them (the authorities).

“The authorities visited Quarter 6 at 4-Mile Area to issue the cards recently. Some local agents — such as U Rafique @Hla Khin (a top gov’t agent and ex-prisoner), ex-army personnel U Hussein Ahmed and his son Tin Aung Moe @Khanaya – accepted the Green Cards and even used threats to make their relatives and some poor people accept the cards. Some locals (Quarter 6) were even beaten by Rafique and the administrator of the Quarter, U Hla Moe, Rakhine extremist.

They even got brother-sister duo arrested by the Border Guard Police (BGP) because they (the people) ignored their threats. They are (Mr.) Fazil Ahmed Jamal Hussein, 43, and (Mrs.) Noor Nahar Jamal Hussein, 40. The BGP arrested them under the pretext of being human traffickers so that they can show them as samples to frighten the villagers when they refuse to accept the cards.

U Fazil Ahmed has been detained in the BGP Headquarter (in Kyi Kan Pyin) and Daw Noor Nahar has been sent to Buthidaung Prison” said a villager asking not to be named.

Last Friday, the Maungdaw Immigration Officials and the Border Guard Police (BGP) visited ‘Guna’ hamlet of Shwe Zarr (Shujah) village tract in northern Maungdaw. They called on and gathered the Rohingya passers-by and the villagers at the premise of the school in the village.

In the gathering, the district immigration head, U Saw Naing, attempted to coax the people the people saying “this Green Card has been being issued to you on the kind consideration by the President of the country. If you accept this card now, your status of citizenship consideration will get promoted and have a better card. You may even get Pink Cards (Citizenship Cards) eventually if you go through this process.

For example, earlier, the Shwe Zarr Highway was only a road of sands. After that, it was upgraded and surfaced with stones. Now, it has become a good road surfaced well with concretes. Your citizenship status will also be upgraded step by step like this.”

However, the efforts by the immigration head to coax the people to attract them to accept the cards went in vain. Nobody came forward to accept the cards.

Last Saturday as well, the authority went to the Shwe Zarr village again and waited for the whole day. No one came to take the Green Cards.

Nevertheless, the authorities are still using threats against the Rohingyas. Similar attempts have been tried at a few villages in southern Maungdaw.

In late 1990s and early 2000s, ‘White Cards (Temporary Identification Cards)” were issued to them. The government again confiscated the White Cards by last March and now has started to issue them the so-called Green Cards. From Indigenous ethic group, citizens, nationals to foreigners, the citizenship status of Rohingyas in Myanmar (Burma) is simply backsliding.

[Edited by M.S. Anwar]

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