Malaysia’s Rohingyas protest violence in Myanmar.
KUALA LUMPUR: Adding anger to an already tense situation in Myanmar, a group of 8 ethnic parties currently allied have said the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority are not considered an ethnic minority.
The statement by the group’s reiterated their position adopted in 2005.
It comes as the Rohingya minority in the country face waves of attacks and reported massacres in the Western Arakan area of the country.
“‘Rohingya’ is not to be recognized as a nationality,” said a statement by the National Democratic Front (NDF), saying it wanted its views to be known to “the people at home and in foreign lands” because of the sectarian violence that has erupted in Rakhine State, claiming nearly 80 lives since May 28.
Some 800,000 Rohingyas live in Burma, where the government considers them illegal immigrants and denies them citizenship. Most Burmese call Rohingya “Bengali.”
NDF Secretary Khun Oh said, “Even before the current conflict, there has been frequent conflict between Rakhine and Bengalis,” referring to the Rohingyas as people from Bangladesh.
The NDF statement said the violence, which saw up to 3,000 homes and businesses burned, was a result of poor immigration regulations and enforcement.
However, Khun Oh told local media that some Rohingyas could be granted Burmese citizenship if they met appropriate qualifications, such as knowledge of the national language.
The stateless community has struggled to find a positive way of life as many fled violence in Myanmar in the early 1980s.
The Rohingyas said the flare up of violence in Myanmar has claimed the lives of more than 1,000 people in the past three decades and they want an end to the alleged atrocities.
They want a UN peacekeeping force as well as a medical team to be sent there immediately.
Many fear that thousands of Rohingyas may be heading towards a crisis situation without food, shelter and medication.