Rohingya Vision

Myanmar releases census data, but excludes Rohingya minority

Myanmar releases census data, but excludes Rohingya minority
May 29
10:46 2015

YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar released the final results of its first nationwide census in 30 years on Friday, but the count excluded the country’s Muslim Rohingya minority, as well as sensitive data on ethnicity and the religious beliefs of its 51.5 million people.

Most of Myanmar’s 1.1 million Rohingya are persecuted and live in apartheid-like conditions in the western state of Arakan (Rakhine). Almost 140,000 were displaced in deadly clashes with majority Buddhists in Arakan (Rakhine) in 2012. They are denied citizenship and have long complained of state-sanctioned discrimination.

Delegates from Southeast Asian countries were gathered in the Thai capital on Friday for talks on the “boat people” crisis, which involves thousands of migrants – many of them Rohingya – floating on ships abandoned by traffickers after a recent crackdown in Thailand. Myanmar said it could not be held responsible.

The Myanmar government had promised international sponsors the Rohingya would be free to identify themselves as such in the census, conducted in March-April 2014, but backtracked a day before it started and said the use of the term would not be allowed.

“In northern Arakan (Rakhine) state, a considerable segment of the population was left out of the exercise amid ongoing tensions and the demand of many local people to self-identify as Rohingya, a demand not conceded by the authorities,” said Vijay Nambiar, Special Adviser to the U.N. Secretary-General on Myanmar.

The count has also been criticized after its organizers based it on a list of 135 ethnic groups, which activists and critics say is outdated and inaccurate.

Note:Changes have been made,Reuters is not responsible for these.




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