Rohingya Vision

Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi campaigns in Arakan (Rakhine) state

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Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi campaigns in Arakan (Rakhine) state
October 20
10:38 2015

Myanmar’s general election will go ahead as planned on November. 8 despite a proposed delay because of recent landslides and flooding, the election commission said Tuesday.

Since then periodic bouts of religious bloodshed have overshadowed Myanmar’s reform efforts as it begins to emerge from the grip of outright military rule under a quasi-civilian government, which came into power in 2011.

In Arakan (Rakhine) state, the authorities have revoked the “white cards” – temporary national identity cards – of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims, making them ineligible to vote.

Myanmar’s government views the Rohingyas, who number roughly 1.1 million people in the country, as illegal immigrants in their own ancestral land.

About 140,000 Rohingya were displaced in 2012 state sponsored violence by Buddhists on Muslims in Arakan (Rakhine) and remain in temporary camps with severe restrictions on their movements. But the truth is that Rohingya, along with other Muslims in Myanmar, are totally alienated and excluded from participation in politics.

On Monday, Chaw Sandi Tun was arrested for a Facebook post pointing out that Aung San Suu Kyi was wearing clothes of a colour similar to those of the army, and in particular General Min Aung Hlaing, according to Amnesty.

Suu Kyi has opted to skirt state capital Akyab (Sittwe) and other more hair-trigger areas of the state, which remains deeply scarred and unrest because of the state sponsored violence by Buddhists on Rohingya Muslims that erupted in 2012, leaving more than 200 dead. “A lot of people in Thandwe like her. Perhaps a few people don’t like her because of the ethnic issue but she will get votes in most parts of Arakan (Rakhine)”, he said.

“We will try to win a seat in Yangon, but we don’t think we will win in Arakan (Rakhine) State where there is a lot of racial discrimination”, said Hla Toe, who himself is running for a lower house seat in Yangon’s Minglar Taungnyunt township.

Apart from two Muslim candidates representing the National Unity Party, the party of the former military dictator Ne Win, nearly all Muslim candidates are representing little known, Yangon-based Muslim political parties. “Everything must change”, he said, tightly grasping a token that guaranteed him an opportunity to vote later Sunday.

“We see her as one who can raise the standard of the Arakan (Rakhine) people’s lives”, Myo Chit said.

At a street stall close to the main Thandwe market, young female volunteers and their children seemed relaxed as they handed out promotional materials for the party.

While many in the global community have condemned the NLD leader for not speaking out on rights abuses against Muslim Rohingya in the northern half of Arakan (Rakhine), the Kaman Muslims in the Thandwe crowd clearly saw the NLD as being the best option for Islamic voters, even if the party does not have a single Muslim candidate in the whole country.

She added that Arakan (Rakhine), on Myanmar’s western coast, is rich with natural resources but the people in the state were still poor, “so something is wrong”.

But he acknowledged that security would be “tight” for Aung San Suu Kyi’s campaign visit “in the interest of preserving peace and stability”.

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

Source: RFA



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