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Press Release: ARNO Confutes Rohingya accept Bengali classification

Arakan Rohingya National Organisation

Date: 24 April 2014

Press Release: ARNO Confutes Rohingya accept Bengali classification

Our attention has been drawn to the news item appeared in Bangkok post, dated 23/04/2014 under caption, “Rohingya accept Bengali classification” where the newspaper quoted U Myit Kyine, head of the Immigration and Population Department, stating "More than 6,000 families came and told officials to register them as Bengali,"

Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO) believes the above statement is but another physiological approach of the government to influence the Rohingyas to identify themselves as Bengalis, a term that implies they are illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.

Backing out of its earlier promises to implement the census in line with the international standards allowing anyone to self-identify his ethnicity, now the government has not only barred the use of the term ‘Rohingya’ as ethnic identity but also changed its position and agreement, at the eleventh hour, to train and deploy more than a thousand Rohingyas as emulators. And as we observe that the current emulators or accompanying officials either intimidating anyone identifying oneself as Rohingya or rejecting to record them. It is an act of deliberate treachery on the part of the government.

We are also concerned about the repeated statements of the government officials where lately U Myit Kyine said "Now they realise they will only suffer if they miss this opportunity,”. We wonder what sort of future suffering they are indicating to and why they are correlating it with the upcoming 2015 election. It is a matter of great regret that the Rohingya are technically omitted from the process, although they have always welcomed the census giving willing cooperation to the concerned parties.

Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO) strongly condemns the method the government of Burma has had used to exclude the ethnic Rohingya people from the census and/or to label them as Bengalis which violates the norms and terms of international law and practices.

We, therefore, request the UN to put a note in all its writing of the facts that happened on the soil of Arakan and how the Rohingyas have been excluded. We also request the international community and the donor countries to raise the issue with the government of Burma and to include the Rohingyas in the UN sponsored census through special arrangements and in accordance to international norms.

For more information, please contact:

Nurul Islam: + 44-794785465
Habibur Rahman: +880187012919

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