Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO) has welcomed the European Parliament resolution of 20 April 2012 which calls for changes to the 1982 law on citizenship to ensure due recognition of the right to citizenship of the Rohingya ethnic minority in Burma; for the release of all political prisoners without delay and conditions, and access of ICRC and international human rights bodies to Burma’s prisons; to introduce amendments to the 2008 constitution; to guarantee free and independent media; to initiate legal reforms in order to ensure a truly independent and impartial judiciary and to establish process of justice and accountability for past human rights abuses. The whole Rohingya people feel encouraged by this resolution.
While cautiously welcoming the recent positive changes in Burma, including mutual rapprochement between President U Thein Sein and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, the resolution expresses concerns on the policies and discrimination against Rohingya people, and issues concerning human rights and other important matters. It also calls on the Burmese authorities, among other things, to completely end the decade-old internal armed conflicts, to take more positive measures for peace negotiations towards political and democratic reforms.
The infamous 1982 Burma citizenship law, enacted by U Ne Win’s BSPP regime, is one of the oppressive laws that require scrapping or amending in conformity with the generally accepted concept of nationality. The law promotes discrimination against those who do not belong to so-called racially pure-blooded 135 ethnic groups that the government accepts as Burmese nationals and deliberately denies citizenship to Rohingya who had previously been recognized as citizens and ethnic group in Burma.
1982 citizenship law largely ignores state’s ‘obligation to respect the right to nationality’ and it does not oblige the state to protect stateless persons. Therefore, we urge upon the international community and governments to set the ‘issue of Rohingya citizenship’ as one of the benchmarks for lifting sanctions on the Burmese government.
Last not least, we hereby express our appreciation to the European Parliament for the resolution.
For further information:
Nurul Islam: +44-7947854652
Aman Ullah: + 008-1558486910