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Myanmar civil society 'divided' over citizenship of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

April 12, 2015

The Burmese civil society is “divided” over the issue of citizenship for Rohingya refugees mostly lodged in Bangladesh, a Myanmar political analyst has said in a Dhaka conference.

“Some have liberal views and others have extremist views. But it is democracy now, so you can hear the cacophony of different voices,” said Dr Khin Zaw Win, Director of Tampadipa Institute, a Myanmar-based civil society organisation.

He was speaking at a conference on Bangladesh’s engagement with its two neighbours – India and Myanmar.

The Rohingya issue has been the main irritant between Dhaka and Naypyidaw since thousands of them fled sectarian violence in Rakhine state and took refuge in Bangladesh.

Myanmar’s military rulers have denied them citizenship for decades.

But the views of their common people have never been known due to lack of people-to-people dialogue.

Khin Zaw Win said he found the opinion “divided”.

He, however, advocated working closely as “for the first time Myanmar-Bangladesh-India have democracies”.

He said Myanmar can act as a bridge between South Asia and South East Asia.

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