NAYPYIDAW: “Rohingya should be given the right to citizenship after generations living in the country” and supported behind a Myanmar commission to address human rights issues in troubled Arakan (Rakhine) state, chaired by his predecessor Kofi Annan, Ban Ki Moon said in a conference on 30th August.
Many from the million-strong Muslim minority are denied citizenship, voting and work rights and labeled as imposters in overwhelmingly Buddhist Myanmar.
More than 120,000 have been displaced, many to squalid concentration camps in western Arakan (Rakhine) state, after fleeing violence stirred by Buddhist nationalists in 2012.
Thousands have fled to other Southeast Asian countries on rickety boats in search of better lives, only to drown or fall victim to human traffickers.
In June, the UN said the Rohingya suffered entrenched discrimination so deep it may amount to crimes against humanity.
“This is not just a question of the Rohingya community’s right to self-identify,” Ban told a press conference alongside Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
“People who have been living for generations in this country should enjoy the same legal status and citizenship as everyone else.”
His comments come as Myanmar’s new civilian government is seeking to tackle the seemingly intractable issue that has dogged Nobel laureate Suu Kyi for years.
“We are happy to see the encouraging steps you [the Myanmar government] have taken, including the establishment of a commission chaired by my distinguished predecessor, Mr. Kofi Annan, to look at the overall issues in Rakhine,” Ban said during a speech after he met with State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyidaw.
Ban is in Myanmar to attend the government’s Panglong Conference peace negotiations with armed ethnic groups, which begin on Wednesday.
“He [Annan] telephoned me in fact before he assumed his post and I assured him that the United Nations will provide full support, and I strongly advised him to work very closely with the State Counselor and also meet as many stakeholders as possible,” Ban said.
Last week, the Myanmar government selected Annan to head its advisory commission to help resolve human rights issues in troubled Arakan (Rakhine) state, where the nine-member commission includes three international representatives, four Buddhist and Muslim members from Myanmar, and two Myanmar government representatives, who will try to find a lasting solution to the Arakan (Rakhine) issue.
The advisory commission will hold meetings with all relevant stakeholders, international experts, and foreign dignitaries, submit its findings and recommendations to the Myanmar government, and publish a report next year.
Note: changes have been made, AFP and RFA is not responsible for these.
Source: AFP and RFA