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Showing posts with label citizenship. Show all posts
Showing posts with label citizenship. Show all posts

Sunday, June 6, 2021

Myanmar Shadow Government Pledges Citizenship for Rohingya

Sebastian Strangio
June 04, 2021 

The National Unity Government has called for the besieged community to join in the “Spring Revolution” against the military junta

In a move designed to burnish its claims to international support and recognition, Myanmar’s opposition National Unity Government (NUG) has promised to grant the country’s beleaguered Rohingya minority population citizenship.

In a policy statement released yesterday, the NUG, which was formed to oppose the military junta that seized power in February, said that the Rohingya are “entitled to citizenship by laws that will accord with fundamental human rights and democratic federal principles.”

It added, “We invite the Rohingyas to join hands with us and with others to participate in this Spring Revolution against the military dictatorship in all possible ways.”

The NUG statement promised to repeal Myanmar’s problematic 1982 Citizenship Law, which is underpinned by a complex taxonomy of 135 “national races,” from which the Rohingya are excluded, complicating their ability to gain citizenship. It said that whatever law replaces it “must base citizenship on birth in Myanmar or birth anywhere as a child of Myanmar citizens.”

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Bangladesh Trashes Report Alleging Rohingya Were Promised Citizenship to Move to Island

Benar News
Kamran Reza Chowdhury
A Rohingya refugee draws water from a pump on Bhashan Char Island in Bangladesh, Dec. 30, 2020.
[Special to BenarNews]

A new report by an international NGO alleges that Dhaka has falsely promised Bangladeshi citizenship to Rohingya refugees who move to Bhashan Char, a remote and flood-prone island in the Bay of Bengal, a claim that the government on Thursday rejected as untrue.

Bangladesh is focused on repatriating Rohingya to neighboring Myanmar, said Delwar Hossain, director general of the Myanmar wing at the foreign ministry, while he dismissed the report by Refugees International as containing false allegations.

Thursday, May 27, 2021

UNGA President: Rohingyas' rights to return, citizenship must be respected

Dhaka Tribune
May 26th, 2021
A year ago the International Court of Justice ordered Myanmar to do everything possible to prevent a genocide against the Rohingya, he said

President of the 75th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Volkan Bozkir has said the basic rights, including to citizenship, and the creation of conditions conducive to the voluntary, safe, dignified and sustainable return of all Rohingyas must be respected.

"The safety and security of the Rohingya and other minorities must be secured," he said while delivering his keynote speech at the Sixth Lecture of the Bangabandhu Lecture Series at the Foreign Service Academy on Tuesday.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Gandhi would be fasting against India’s discriminatory new citizenship law

The Washington Post  
October 8 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi during a ceremony in Parliament in New Delhi on Oct. 2. (Money Sharma/AFP via Getty Images)
India is celebrating the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi with widespread tributes. Such was the moral force of the father of the nation’s nonviolence agitation for independence against the British, that he remains the one historical figure about whom little political disagreement is permissible.

Writing in the New York Times recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Gandhi “envisioned Indian nationalism as one that was never narrow or exclusive but one that worked for the service of humanity."

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Integration should not be a one-way street

Saturday, August 03, 2019

Advocates of interfaith harmony gather at central Yangon's Mahabandoola Park in May 2016. (Steve Tickner | Frontier)  

It’s time for us to embrace the idea that you can wear a beard, kurta or hijab, and have a Muslim name, and still be fully Burmese.

ONE OF Burma’s most prominent monks, Sitagu Sayadaw, once observed that Muslims are “guests” and Buddhists are “hosts”, and that “the guests must obey the hosts”. Similarly, I have heard Buddhists say that Muslims in Burma (a name I use in preference to Myanmar) need to respect Buddhist culture and “assimilate” into it.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Rohingya reject Myanmar's 'foreign citizen' offer

By SM Najmus Sakib 
DHAKA, Bangladesh

With Myanmar officials considering calling Rohingya “foreign citizen,” the persecuted people are demanding full citizenship, ethnic rights, and international protection before repatriation.

Myint Thu, Myanmar’s foreign affairs permanent secretary, said at a meeting with Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh that Myanmar’s government will consider the Rohingya “foreign nationals,” local daily The Daily Star reported on Monday.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Myanmar must give Rohingya 'pathway to citizenship' - U.N. investigator

Monday, June 24, 2019

Malaysia calls for ‘justice’ and citizenship for Rohingya Muslims

By AFP Jun 23, 2019

Monday, May 6, 2019

The new Muslim citizens of Ramree Island

 Pink-coloured Citizenship Scrutiny Cards (pictured) grant the bearer the rights of full Myanmar citizenship. (Nyein Su Wai Kyaw Soe | Frontier)
A village on Rakhine State’s Ramree Island is at the centre of a controversy around the granting of citizenship to thousands of Muslims, with some alleging corruption. 

MORE THAN 3,000 Muslims were issued citizenship cards last year in Rakhine State’s Ramree Township. In an unprecedented move, five immigration officers spent eight months in an isolated village to complete the process.

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Media partisanship and irrational citizenship

The Manila Times
Opinion/ Op-Ed Columns
March 14, 2019,
THE news about the political turmoil in Venezuela, where hospitals are now turning away even emergency patients because they do not have medicine to treat them, and massive power outages have paralyzed the country, has distressed me.

But what distressed me even more was the reaction from one of my online followers to my lament of how Nicolas Maduro, the beleaguered Venezuelan president, could allow his people to suffer just to keep himself in power. He wrote: “Wala tayo sa Venezuela (We are not in Venezuela), we don’t know what’s really going on there. Can we trust the mainstream media? Have we forgotten what they did to Marcos, Ghadafi, what they’re doing to Duterte right now?

Saturday, March 9, 2019

China denies offering cash to lure Rohingya to Myanmar.

The Peninsula Qatar
08 Mar 2019

Rohingya refugee children play football at the Balukhali refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, March 5, 2019. REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain

By SM Najmus Sakib I Anadolu

DHAKA: A Chinese official has denied reports that his country’s government delegation had promised each family of Rohingya refugees $6,000 if they returned to restive Rakhine State in Myanmar, a media report said.

According to BenarNews, an online news service, Chinese Embassy Attaché in Dhaka Vera Hu said: "China never offers money to Rohingya people for them to go back.”

Friday, March 8, 2019

Rohingya Trading Identity for Partial Citizenship, More Rights in Rakhine State

The Irrawaddy
By Moe Myint 7 March 2019

Lawmakers take a rare stand for persecuted Muslims in western Burma after learning that the movement of about 500 people recently awarded citizenship remains restricted.

YANGON — More than half of the 7,000-plus Muslim Rohingya who have applied for citizenship in Rakhine State over the past three years have now been accepted following a wave of approvals in just the last few months, according to the Ministry of Labor, Population and Immigration.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Rohingyas are violent as they are stateless: Foreign minister.

The Daily Star

February 24, 2019
Our Correspondent, Sylhet

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen yesterday said Rohingyas are violent as they do not have citizenship anywhere.

Attacking German journalists at Ukhia Rohingya Camp in Cox's Bazaar was an unfortunate act by the Rohingyas, he said.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

People Flee Escalating Violence in Myanmar's Rakhine, Southern Chin States.

February 10, 2019,
By: Lisa Schlein
A Mro ethnic women with child displaced from the surge of fighting between ethnic armed rebel group of the Arakan Army and government troops take refuge at a compound of a Buddhist pagoda in Buthidaung township in the restive Rakhine state, Jan. 25, 2019.

GENEVA — The U.N. refugee agency says it is worried by reports of people fleeing escalating violence in Myanmar's southern Chin State and Rakhine State, adding to growing instability in these regions.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

India's Rohingya shame.

The Indian government has adopted attitudes similar to Myanmar's towards the Rohingya.

by Ashley Starr Kinseth
29th January 2019

A girl from the Rohingya community stands outside her family's shack in a camp in New Delhi, India on October 4, 2018 [File: Adnan Abidi/Reuters]

Earlier this month, India sparked panic among its long-suffering Rohingya refugee population by deporting a family of five to their home country of Myanmar, where they will most certainly face human rights violations and imprisonment. This expulsion came on the heels of the controversially forced repatriation of seven Rohingya men last October.

For Rohingya refugees currently residing in India, who the authorities claims are as many as 40,000, this second deportation seemed to harbinger a frightful pattern, especially as India's far-right government had previously pledged to deport all Rohingya. Ruling party officials have made such threats despite international law prohibiting states from refoulement, sending persons to nations where they risk persecution. In Myanmar, such persecution is a near-certainty. More than 700,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh after an army crackdown more than a year ago.

UN officials have described the Myanmar military's action as genocide and called for government officials to be prosecuted. The United Nations and many other rights groups and international bodies still deem Myanmar unsafe for repatriation.

In response to the latest deportation, Rohingya refugees eager to avert similar fates began pouring from India into Bangladesh. Bangladeshi authorities estimate that over 1,300 Rohingya refugees have left India and sought refuge in its territory within the last month.

Most recently, 31 refugees - including 16 children and 6 women - were left stranded in the barren "no man's land" along the India-Bangladesh border for four days after Bangladesh denied them entry and the two nations failed to agree on what to do with them. Eventually, India arrested the group on January 22. Like others apprehended as "illegal migrants", these detainees will likely face lengthy jail terms.

Such imprisonment violates not only India's own law but also international law prohibiting arbitrary arrests and detentions, as well as the customarily recognised right to seek asylum.

Yet, given the pattern of behaviour the current Indian government has displayed towards the Rohingya, it is hardly surprising that many Indian officials feel emboldened enough to routinely violate international and national legal norms with impunity when dealing with Rohingya refugees.

BJP's anti-Rohingya policies

The majority of India's Rohingya came to India either prior to 2012 or following that year's violence in Myanmar - all well before the 2017 genocide. At the time, Bangladesh was much less welcoming to refugees, but India appeared to offer great promise.

"Most of us went to Bangladesh first, but with little or very bad work, and the government didn't support us like it supports the refugees who are there now," one Rohingya refugee, who had been residing in India for over fiv
e years told me. "People were saying that in India, there were better economic opportunities - real jobs for us."

Unfortunately for many, upon arrival, those opportunities proved largely illuso
ry. Still, they found India more peaceful and welcoming than Bangladesh. Although living conditions remained challenging and work scarce, the government did little to prevent refugees from pursuing better futures. At the time, more refugee children were allowed to attend school, and some areas even offered basic assistance.

In the years since, however, attitudes towards minorities - particularly Muslims - have shifted dramatically in India, devastating the livelihoods and prospects of many Rohingya living there.

In 2014, Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) won the majority in parliament and its firebrand leader, Narendra Modi, became prime minister. 
Modi’s government made short work of vilifying Muslims and particularly Rohingya, recasting them as terrorists and "illegal Bengalis" (just like the Myanmar authorities do). The BJP has characterised Muslim refugees in India as threats to the very fabric of Indian society and used them as a tool to draw the country's Hindu majority into their far-right movement. 
Indeed, over less than a decade, the Hindu-nationalist government and its supporters succeeded in drastically eroding many of the most fundamental human rights of the Rohingya refugees, including access to work, education, shelter, sanitation, healthcare, and basic human dignity, among others.
Most recently, Indian authorities ceased to recognise the UNHCR-issued refugee cards of Rohingya, effectively taking away the little amount of legal protection some 18,000 registered Rohingya refugees had in the country. At the moment, virtually all activities and services (including education, work, and healthcare) require a residency-based Aadhar card. According to Rohingya advocates and refugees, these were previously issued to some Rohingya who met the government’s criteriabut this practice has since ceased.
Rohingya also face increased surveillance, at times going as far as harassment, with officials repeatedly collecting biodata, fingerprints, and paperwork. In areas where the police are most hostile - like Jammu and Hiryana - refugees fleeing to other parts of the country or to Bangladesh report extortion, arbitrary arrests and detentions, and beatings are also on the rise. 
The government also bars Rohingya from owning property or building permanent structures. This limits them to either renting dirt patches in remote settlements and constructing jhuggis (slum-like shanties), or - for a fortunate few - renting urban flats from sympathetic landlords. Jhuggi dwellers typically face the greatest hardships, as most work in rag picking (waste collection) or other irregular, poorly-paid labour. 
Rag picking in particular - perhaps the most common occupation among India’s Rohingya - poses serious health risks, as constantly handling and living amidst waste causes workers - including children as young as five - to frequently contract myriad unidentifiable maladies, while dire sanitation conditions further exacerbate widespread illness. In the squalid settlement of Faridabad, for instance, 180 refugees all working as rag pickers have no latrine in the entire camp, while nearly all residents' income goes to healthcare.

Hate crime and extremist rhetoric

Since 2014, there has also been an uptick in hate crimes against Rohingya throughout India, with verbal and physical assaults becoming familiar occurrences for some. Last April, on the very night that an international Rohingya conference was held in New Delhi, the Kalindi Kunj jugghi settlement was burned to the ground. When its 226 residents relocated and rebuilt, their attackers attempted (though fortunately failed) to destroy their settlement again. 
Further, in 2017, as Myanmar's Rohingya genocide escalated, fear of a massive Rohingya influx permeated the northern Jammu region, where most of Rohingya refugees in India reside. Extremist rhetoric grew especially venomous, with one Jammu official even advocating for an "identify and kill" movement. Extremists have since adopted this mantra, protesting to demand full deportations and using billboards and front-page advertisements to convey propaganda and threats to local Rohingya. 
In light of all these abuses, many Rohingya are trying their best to assimilate. Some managed to adjust their appearance and even learn Hindi well enough to pass as Indian, and as a result face relatively less harassment in their daily lives. Few others, who still hold Aadhar cards and have been able to secure steady, relatively reasonably paid work, also manage to get by. Yet even these relatively privileged Rohingya lack full protection, and they do not see a path towards citizenship or at least residency permit. 
Thousands of less privileged Rohingya, on the other hand, continue to live in a state of fear, deprivation and debilitating uncertainty while facing daily harassment, discrimination and persecution.
Recent deportations have drawn some attention to the serious dangers that still await Rohingya in Myanmar and encouraged the international community to take a stand against forced repatriations. However, the world also needs to pay attention to the plight of Rohingya still living in India. 
The Indian government appears intent on following dangerously in the footsteps of the Myanmar authorities: intentionally fomenting religious-nationalist fervour and placing thousands of already traumatised Rohingya in a state of constant fear and deprivation. If we don't act now and pressure the Indian government to reverse its divisive rhetoric and dangerous policies, Rohingya will continue to be victimised by aggressive nationalism and Islamophobia in yet another country.
The views expressed in this article are the author's own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera's editorial stance.