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U.N. draft resolution urges Myanmar to drop Rohingya identity plan

Rohingyas travel in a rickshaw north of Sittwe, in Myanmar's Rakhine state, on June 26. (Photo: AP)

November 1, 2014

UNITED NATIONS – A new U.N. draft resolution takes aim at Myanmar’s aggressive campaign to have its Rohingya Muslims identify as a term they reject, urging “access to full citizenship on an equal basis.”

The European Union-drafted resolution, obtained Friday by AP, is one piece of international pressure on the Southeast Asian country to change its campaign, preferably before world leaders, including U.S. President Barack Obama, arrive for a regional summit in less than two weeks.

Myanmar’s 1.3 million Rohingya have emerged as a sensitive issue as Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist state, tries to move away from decades of repressive military rule toward democracy.

The Rohingya have been denied citizenship and have almost no rights. Attacks by Buddhist mobs have left hundreds dead and 140,000 trapped in camps. Others are fleeing the country.

Authorities want to officially categorize the Rohingya as “Bengalis,” implying they are illegal migrants from neighboring Bangladesh. The Rohingya counter that many of their families have been in Myanmar for generations. Effectively stateless, they are wanted by neither country and say the Myanmar government’s campaign feels like an effort to have them systematically erased.

The vast majority of Rohingya live in the state of Rakhine. President Thein Sein, a former general, is considering a “Rakhine Action Plan” that will make people who identify themselves as Rohingya not only ineligible for citizenship but candidates for detainment and possible deportation.

The resolution now before the General Assembly’s human rights committee is nonbinding, but a strong vote in its support will send a message that international opinion is not on Myanmar’s side.

A Myanmar diplomat assigned to that committee, reached by telephone Friday for comment, said, “It’s too early to say.”

The resolution expresses “serious concern” about the Rohingya’s status. It calls on the government to “allow freedom of movement and equal access to full citizenship for the Rohingya minority” and to “allow self-identification.”

Myanmar’s plan worries some in the Muslim world, and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation pushed for strong language in the resolution.

Last week, Tim Kyaw, Myanmar’s ambassador to the United Nations, told the General Assembly’s human rights committee that his country is not “targeting a religion.” He warned that “insisting on the right to self-identification will only impose obstacles to finding a lasting solution” to ethnic tensions.

Vijay Nambiar, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special adviser on Myanmar, said last week that Myanmar’s government is facing increasing pressure to allow the Rohingya to identify as something other than Rohingya or Bengali.

But, Nambiar said, “In the immediate future, the government says that’s not possible.”

  1. Rohingyas children's living terrible condition in kallinthykunju refugees camp Delhi

  2. Rohingya Refugees life in india!

    Rohingya Refugees need comfortable life for their next generations in India as well as Thousands Families From Rohingya minorities who have been fled from The Myanmar on a count of the genocide with the poor hearts.

    The Rohingya Refugees are living undescribable Circumstances of their families and Children even Thousands Of their children are losing their education and also the right of human.

    The situation of their livelihood is so serious condition but they are living with their aching heart.

    The valuable humans are becoming the quality less light of this world by their professional in the this country because they are Refugees.

    There is no way to hide the realities of these peoples belonging to the human rights and Refugees rights.Thousands of Refugees are losing their right of Refugee being a Refugee of this world as well as Millions of Rohingya Refugee's young generations are in the field of the public and also They are always failing to get their right of human.

    Where is justice for the innocent peoples of this world?

    Where is international organizations to support this Refugees?

    Why The Rohingya Refugees are losing their right of human?

    Thousands of Rohingya Refugees are struggling by their life with their innocent children but they are always loser with their lives after living long time with their families.

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