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White card holders say they want alternative ID cards

Rakhine State is the home to most of Myanmar's white card holders. A trishaw drives along the main road during the curfew time following communal violence in Sittwe, Rakhine State, Myanmar, June 17, 2012. Photo: Lynn Bo Bo/EPA

By Kay Zue
March 1, 2015

Temporary ID card or white card holders in Rakhine State say they will hand over their white cards to the relevant authorities only if they get a similar ID card to take the place of the white cards.

Township authorities in Sittway, Kyaukphyu, Maungdaw, Buthidaung, Thandwe, Ann, Yathedaung townships in Rakhine State have been announcing that white card holders must hand over their cards.

White Card holder U Aung Win, speaking on February 27, said: “White Card holders have held discussions and decided to hand over our cards only if we get alternative ID cards in place of the white cards. The officials who receive our white cards must be immigration officials.”

U Khin Soe, the official in charge of the Rakhine State Immigration and Population Department, said that they don’t have any plan up until now to take punitive action against white card holders who do not hand over their cards to the authorities in March.

“Discussions have been made in Nay Pyi Taw to issue some kind of ID card to the people who hand over their white cards. I still don’t know what will happen,” he said.

There are more than 700,000 white card holders in Rakhine State and authorities have urged them to hand over the cards.

In the Rakhine State, the citizenship verification process has been carried out based on the 1982 Citizenship Law. More than 400 people are reported to have been screened in accordance with the citizenship verification process.

The government has announced that it has been carrying out citizenship scrutiny of white card holders, saying all white cards will expire on March 31, and therefore white card holders must hand over their cards between March 31 and May 31.

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