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By Aman Ullah
RB Analysis
February 11, 2015

On February 2, 2015, the Burmese Parliament approved a referendum, which is called 2015 Referendum Law. This law automatically enfranchises hundreds of thousands of white card holders, who live in Burma but successive Burmese regime denied to give them full citizenship rights.

A referendum is expected to be held in mid-2015, when the public will be asked to approve amendments to Burma’s military-drafted charter. A constitutional review committee has recommended a total of 95 revisions, though they have yet to be approved by Parliament or the president.

These white card holders’ vaguely-defined legal status was being abused by the USDP and government for political gains during voting. They created this policy since 2008 when the country had a referendum.

About 700,000 of them belong to the Rohingya Muslim in northern Arakan State. The Rohingya Muslims of Arakan have a more than 1300 years old tradition, culture, history and civilization of their own expressed in their shrines, cemeteries, sanctuaries, social and cultural institutions found scattered even today in every nock and corner of the land. By preserving their own heritages from the impact of Buddhist environments, they formed their own society with a consolidated population in Arakan well before the Burmese invasions of Arakan in 1784.

Jacques Leider, in his article, ‘Between Revolt and Normality: Arakan after Burmese Conquest’ mentioned that, “we admit of a total population of Arakan of circa 250,000 in the time of (the Burmese) conquest, the country steadily lost up to 50% of its population. English observers estimated the Arakanese population at about 100,000 at the time of the British conquest.”

According to the British government document on the cultures and inhabitants of Arakan by the Secret and Political Department, Fort William dated 26th April 1826, “The population of Arracan and its dependencies Ramree, Cheduba & Sandaway does not at present exceed 100,00 souls, may be classed as -- Mughs six tenths, - Mussalman three tenths, - Burmese one tenth, Total 100,000 Souls--.” As to Mr. Paton, Sub Commissioner of Arakan, who submitted this report from Akyab, “The extent of the Population has been tolerably well ascertained, proved a census taken by Mr. Robertson, and myself, and may be considered as approximating very nearly to the truth.”

That’s means that among the 100,000 souls; Mughs 60,000, Muslims 30,000 and Burmese 10,000. So in the date of conquest of Arakan by the British, there remained thirty-thousand Muslims and these thirty thousand Muslims were living there from before, now their descendants and successors have increased leaps and bounds.

No one in British Burma would dispute that there was a group of “Arakan Muslims” who could indeed trace their roots back to the 17th Century and even earlier and who were quite distinct from the Chittagonians and Bengali immigrants to Arakan. 

According to the censuses of both 1921 and 1931, it has clearly mentioned that, ‘There was a Muslim community in Arakan, particularly in Akyab District, who prefers to call themselves Arakan-Mahomadens and were quite distinct from the Chittgonians and Bengali immigrants to Arakan.’ ‘According to Baxter report of 1940, paragraph 7, “This Arakanese Muslim community settled so long in Akyab District had for all intents and purposes to be regarded as an indigenous race.”

Indigenous peoples were the descendants of those peoples that inhabited a territory prior to colonization or formation of the present state. Hence, these Muslims of Arakan, who identify themselves as Rohingya, are for all intents and purposes to be regarded as an indigenous race and are also a racial group who had settled in Arakan/Union of Burma as their permanent home from a period anterior to 1823 A. D. (1185 B.E.). 

The Rohingya is not simply a self-referential group identity, but an official group and ethnic identity recognized by the post-independence state. In the early years of Myanmar’s independence, the Rohingya were recognized as a legitimate ethnic group that deserved a homeland in Burma

Thus, during the colonial rule the British recognized the separate identity of the Rohingyas and declared north Arakan as the Muslim Region. Again there are instances that Prime Minister U Nu, Prime Minister U Ba Swe, other ministers and high- ranking civil and military official, stated that the Rohingyas people like the Shan, Kachin, Karen, Kaya, Mon and Rakhine. They have the same rights and privileges as the other nationals of Burma regardless of their religious beliefs or ethnic background.

Being one of the indigenous races and bona fide citizens of Burma, the Rohingyas were enfranchised in all the national and local elections of Burma: - during the later colonial period (1935-1948), during the democratic period (1948-1962), during the BSPP regime (1962-1988), 1990 multi-party election held by SLORC and 2010 General Election held by SPDC. Their representatives were in the Legislative Assembly, in the Constituent Assembly and in the Parliament. As members of the new Parliament, their representatives took the oath of allegiance to the Union of Burma on the 4thJanuary 1948. Their representatives were appointed as cabinet ministers and parliamentary secretaries. 

Legislative Assembly Election of 1936

The first and only election held under the Government of Burma Act 1935 that took place in November 1936. Before 1937, Burma was a province of British Indian Empire. In 1937 Burma was separated from India under the British Administration. A new constitution came into effect. Under its provisions the people of Burma were given a bigger role to play in the running of their country.

Under the 1935 Act there were 132 seats in the House of Representatives, 91 of the seats were general non-communal seats and the remaining 41 being reserved for communal and special interest groups of which 12 were reserved for Karen (of Ministerial Burma), 8 for Indians, 2 for Anglo-Burmans, and 3 for Europeans. But, according to Martin Smith, ‘there was no separate representation for the Mons of Lower Burma; the question of seats of the Southern Chin, the Arakanese Muslims including Kamans and Myedus, the Zerbadis from the mixed Burma Muslims union. The single exception has been North Arakan, where Muslims from distinct majority constituency in several districts along the Bangladesh border.’ {Martin Smith, Burma: Insurgency and the Politics of Ethnicity 1999} Thus, the Rohingya Muslims of Akyab district North constituency, a non-communal rural constituency, were recognize as children of the soil and in the first time taken as eligible to vote or to stand for election on the ground of their being one of the indigenous communities of Burma. Mr. Ghani Markin returned on the votes of those Rohingyas as a Member of Legislative Assembly.

Constituent Assembly election of 1947

The second election was held under the Aung San-Atlee Agreement that was signed on 27 January 1947. According to that agreement, which said, ‘in order to decide on the future of Burma a Constituent Assembly shall be elected within four months instead of Legislature under the Act of 1935. For this purpose the electoral machinery of 1935 Act will be used. Election will take place in April 1947 for the general non-communal, the Karen and the Anglo-Burman constituencies as constituted under the Act of 1935, and each constituency two member shall be returned. Any Burma nationals defined in the ‘Annex A’  of the Agreement registered in a general constituency other than one of those mentioned above shall be placed on the register of a general non-communal constituency.’

According to ‘Annex A’ of the Agreement, A Burma National is defined for the purpose of eligibility to vote and to stand as a candidate at the forth coming election as British subject or the subject of an Indian State who was born in Burma and reside there for a total period not less than eight years in the ten years immediately preceding either 1st January, 1942 or 1st January 1947’.

Immediately before the last election, the Muslims of Akyab district North constituency were recognized as children of the soil and first taken as eligible to vote or to stand for election on the ground of their being one of the indigenous races of Burma, but when the Aung San - Atlee Agreement was out, the government misunderstood the position and it was notified that unless they declared themselves as Burma nationals, they would not be eligible to vote or to stand for election to the constituent Assembly.

According to Mr. Sultan Ahmed, who became later a member of Constituent Assembly, ‘It is not understood how they can be treated under clause (IV) section II of the Constitution. By so doing about 95% of the population residing in this constituency, at a stroke of the pen, become foreigners, which action they strongly felt as unjust and uncalled for.’

The Muslims of that constituencies made strong protest against this decision on the ground of their being one of the indigenous races of Burma. The government withheld the first decision and allowed the Muslims to vote or stand for elections held in March 1947. Mr. Sultan Ahmed and Mr. Abdul Gaffar returned on the votes of this Muslims as members of the constituent Assembly. They continued in their office, representing the Akyab district North constituency till Burmese independence and took the oath of allegiance to the Union of Burma on the 4th January 1948 as members of the new parliament of the Union of Burma.

‘This decision and action of the government conclusively proved that these Muslims as a whole or in-groups are accepted as one of the indigenous races of Burma. And in this connection, it may be pointed out that the Akyab district North constituency is non-communal rural constituency and these Muslims of Arakan belong to this constituency’ remarked Mr. Sultan Ahemd.

Parliamentary Elections during 1948-1962

Since the holding of the constituent Assembly till 1962 military took over, three general elections were held for both Chambers of the Parliament in 1952, 1956 and 1960 respectively. The Rohingyas had enjoyed the right to vote and the right to be elected as children of the soil in all the elections. In 1952, Mr. Sultan Ahmed, Daw Aye Nyunt (a) Zohora Begam, Mr. Abul Bashar and U Poe Khine (a) Nasir Uddin were elected as members of the Chamber of Deputies and Mr. Abdul Gaffer was elected as a member of the Chamber of Nationalities. In 1956, Mr. Sultan Ahmed, Mr. Abul Khair, Mr. Abul Bahsar and Mr. Ezahar Mian were elected as the members of the Chamber of Deputies and Mr. Abdul Gaffer remained as a member of the Chamber of Nationalities. A by-election was held for the Buthidaung North Constituency in 1957 as the election of Mr. Ezahar Main was challenged and the verdict was given against him. Mr. Sultan Mahmood was elected and he was inducted in the cabinet of U Nu as a Minister of Health. In 1960, Mr. Rashid Ahmed, Mr. Abul Khair, Mr. Abul Bahsar and Mr. Sultan Mahmood were elected as members of the Chamber of Deputies while Mr. Abdus Suban was elected as a member of the Chamber of Nationalities.

General Election during 1962- 1988 in BSPP Regime 

During the Burma Socialist Programme Party (BSPP) rule, four general elections for the People’s assembly and People’s Council at different levels were held in 1974, 1978, 1982 and 1986 respectively. These elections had been held on the basis of the 1974 Constitution.

Under the 1974 Constitution and 1973 Election Law, ‘citizens born of parents both of whom are Union nationals and citizens born of parents both of whom are Union citizens, have the right to be elected people’s representatives to the People’s Assembly or People’s Council at different levels. Persons who are not citizens of the Union of Burma have no right to vote.’

According to the 1974 Constitution, ‘citizens are those who are born of the parents whom are nationals of the Socialist Republic of Union of the Burma and who are vested with citizenship according to existing laws on the date of this constitution comes into force.’ 

Former Minister for Mines Dr. Nyi Nyi and Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs Minister U Win Ko had to resign from the position of the members of cabinet and People’s Assembly, as they could not fulfill the requirement of the said law.

The Rohingyas had enjoyed the right to vote and the right to be elected as people’s representatives to the Organ of State power at different levels. No Rohingya who had either been elected or who had applied for the nomination had neither been challenged nor barred from participation or asked to resign after being elected.

Multi-Party Election of 1990

SLORC held multi-party general election in May 1990. The Rohingya were not only allowed to vote but also, in their exercise of franchise, elected four Rohingya members of Parliament. U Chit Lwin (a) Ebrahim, Mr. Fazal Ahmed, U Kyaw Min (a) Shomshul Anwarul Haque, and U Tin Maung (a) Nur Ahmed have been elected as members of the Parliament.

Under the1989 election law ‘all citizens, associate citizens and naturalized citizens are permitted to vote, but only the citizens are allowed to stand for election. No foreign residents were allowed to vote.’ Thus, allowing taking part in the national elections must be upheld as a measure of recognition for the Rohingyas as full citizens.

In fact the Rohingyas were not only permitted to vote but also to form their own political parties during the May 1990 election. Two parties were formed the Students and Youth League for Mayu Development and the National Democratic and Human Rights (NDPHR). The NDPHR won all four seats in Maung Daw and Buthidaung constituencies, and in each constituency votes for the two parties counted for 80 per cent of the total votes cast. Moreover, the turnout in both constituencies equaled the national average, at 70 per cent of eligible voters. The NDPHR also fielded candidates in four other constituencies; Kyuk Taw-1, Minbya-1, Mrauk U -2 and Sittwe -2, and they gained an average of 17 per cent of the votes while the Government- backed National Unity Party got only 13 per cent. 

Although the name of Rohingya was not permitted to use in the party title, the NDPHR was allowed to produce a booklet in Burmese called ‘Arakan and the Rohingya people: a short History’ on August 31, 1991. According to the NDPHR sources, the permission to print this booklet was rescinded two months later. 

General Election held by SPDC in 2010

A general election was held in Burma (Myanmar) on 7 November 2010, in accordance with the new constitution. This constitution was approved in a referendum held in May 2008, which was held in the midst of Cyclone Nargis.

Since 2008, Brig-Gen Phone Swe, Deputy Minister of Home Affairs, was assigned for the assessment of North Arakan situation and to organize the peoples residing there for the constitutional referendum. Brig-Gen Phone Swe managed over whelming support from Rohingyas 2008 constitutional referendum to the satisfaction of the junta. They want the same support and cooperation from Rohingyas at the coming 2010 election with joining Union Solidarity and Development Association (USDA) a political affiliate of SPDC.

Brig-Gen Phone Swe, with constant contacting Rohingyas communities of both Rangoon and North Arakan, tried to study the ground reality, perception and mind set of entire Rohingya community of Arakan for two years. After convincing with over whelming support at the referendum from these peoples and managed to take a pro-Rohingya policy by the Junta. Not only Phone Swe, other high ranking SPDC officials also made frequent visits to this area and gave various kinds of promises to the Rohingya people.

In this regard, General (Retd) Thein Sein, the then Prime Minister, accompanied by 12 ministers, a high power delegation was arrived in Buthidaung Township on 16 March 2010. There the Prime Minister held a meeting on that day where local government officers, USDA members, and Rakhine and Rhingya civil society’s members were attended. In this meeting the Prime Minister told that, “Rohingya living in Arakan State are citizens of Burma…Rohingya and government can work together for the betterment of Burmese people and development of the country….Rohingyas have been staying here and shall stay here no need to go anywhere. .. Rohingyas are majority in North Arakan and shall have legitimate rights to vote and to be elected.” 

Convincing the promises of the Prime Minister, most of the Rohingya peoples of North Arakan decided to join USDA and participate to the forth coming election. A total of 37 political parties contested in this election, which included two Rohingya political parties also contested - - National Democratic Party for Development (NDPD) and National Democratic and Peace Party (NDPP). Some independent Rohingya candidates also contested in the election.

Out 33 Rohingya contested in the polls, 21 contested with NDPD ticket, 6 with USDP ticket, 3 with NDPP ticket and 3 independent candidates. U Htay Win (a) Zahidur Rahman with USDP ticket was elected for the Nationalities Parliament. U Aung Zaw Win (a) Zakir Hussain and U Shwe Maung (a) Abdu Razak both with USDP tickets were elected for the People’s Parliament. U Aung Myo Myint (a) Jahan Gir with USDP ticket, U Aung Myint (a) Zahiddullah and U Bashir Ahmed both with UNDP tickets were elected for the State Parliament. The Rohingyas of North Arakan were overwhelmingly gone to vote with average turnover of more than 90%.

In spite of the Rohingyas, being one of indigenous races of Burma, had enfranchised in all the national elections of Burma from later colonial period to present Then Sein regime, today they are knowingly and deliberately being branded as aliens. The government vehemently denies the existence of a Rohingya ethnicity, referring to the group, even in official documents, as “Bengali.” This stems from a pervasive belief that all Rohingya are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

However, The USDP needs the votes of these people in upcoming referendum and election then they approved this Referendum Law of 2015 that allows white card holders to take part in a future referendum on amendments to the constitution. 

Parliament’s recent decision, which was proposed by President Thein Sein, reconfirms the USDP’s intention to again grant the group voting rights.

The constitutional referendum has yet to be scheduled, but parliament's decision also strengthens the chances that white card holders will be able to cast ballots in general elections later this year.

The prospect of the Rohingya being allowed to vote has alarmed nationalist monks and politicians who have threatened to hold mass protests next week to pressure parliament to reverse its decision.

Arakanese lawmakers and a group of opposition parties, including Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD), are asking Burma’s Constitutional Tribunal to overturn a recent parliamentary decision to grant so-called white card holders the right to vote in a planned constitutional referendum.

Arakanese politicians are fiercely opposed to any legal recognition of the Muslim minority in northern Arakan State. They fear the Referendum Law will also allow the group the rights to vote in the general elections, scheduled for early November. Withholding Rohingya voting rights would boost the power of the Arakanese politicians, which otherwise dominate the state.

But, why did Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy (NLD) opposing this decision. They knew that, the citizenship issue was a settled issue and the Muslims of Arakan who identify themselves Rohingya are citizens by birth. As they, their parents and their grandparents were born and bred in Burma and most of them were indigenous, under the sub clauses (i), (ii) and (iii) of Article 11, of 1947 Constitution of Union of Burma. These are fundamental rights of a citizen and the 1947 constitution provided safeguard for fundamental rights. Under this constitution, the people of Burma irrespective of ‘birth, religion, sex or race’ equally enjoyed all the citizenships rights including right to express, right to assemble, right to associations and unions, settle in any part of the Union, to acquire property and to follow any occupation, trade, business or profession.

I agree cent percent with Mr. Tha Aye, who accused protest organizers of attempting to create instability and disrupt democratic reforms and said that, they are comprised of racist politicians and ultranationalists. I do not think that NLD is such party. It is a party to which all people of the country have faith on it. Everybody believes that it has vision, it has justice and it will honor all the rights of the people. It never tries to abuse the fundamental rights of any community. 

Our earnest request to Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other all the leaders of NLD, please do not oppose for the sake of opposition or opposing. Rohingyas never be illegal immigrants rather they are emigrants from Burma who are illegally staying in deferent parts of the world.

By Maung Zarni
January 22, 2015

Is Myanmar Tatmadaw (or feudal army) re-embracing its Fascist origin?

Burma's army was the sole creation of Southeast Asia unit of Japan's Naval Intelligence. With full blessings from PM General Tojo , Japan's Fascist strategists in the Japanese Navy Intelligence recruited Aung San - Aung San Suu Kyi's father - and his young anti-British nationalist colleagues, in desperate search for arms, funding and other forms of support from an anti-imperialist source. Their initial hope was Mao's Communists. But Communists were in no position or mood to help the young Burmese. The Japanese fascists stepped in and offered the promise of Burma's independence from Britain in exchange for fighting in effect as a 'proxy army' for the Japanese. Japan's fascist vision during WWII was to expand its control all the way to Australia and New Zealand via what US strategic command then called "South East Asia" - the invented origin of the region that now came to be referred to as ASEAN. Burma was crucial as a launching pad for Japanese Armed Forces to invade British India. 

The allure of independence and having no real alternative forced the Burmese nationalists to collaborate with the Fascists in Tokyo beginning in 1942. Come Christmas young nationalist activists had morphed into military-men, soaked in authoritarianism and the old Bama feudalist values. 

Seventy two years after the founding of the Myanmar feudal army, all the signs are pointing to the resurgence of Fascism - this time with Bama and "Buddhist" characteristics! . As a matter-of-factly speaking, everything Myanmar Tatmadaw (or feudal army) is doing indicate that it has re-embraced and re-institutionalized Fascism. Here are SOME of the most disturbing signs. 

1. Troops fired at land-robbed farmers. 
2. Anti-Chinese mine Buddhist monks get fire-bombed. 
3. Kachin volunteer teachers got raped and murdered. 
4. Muslims as religious minorities and non-Bama ethnic peoples are second class citizens. 
5. Rohingya in particular are starved, brutalized and forced out. 
6. Nazi-inspired Rakhines are promoted as 'leaders' and being used as 'local proxies'. 
7. Generals & cronies have been robbing the public openly.
8. Myanmar Tatmadaw is widely accused - and justifiably - of raping religious and ethnic minority women, including Rohingya women, with blanket impunity for decades. 
9. Journalists are killed and/or otherwise persecuted. 
10. Anti-Muslim hate-mongers and violent hate groups such as 969 and Ma-Ba-Tha have official backing by the Government and Legislature (the same thing, different names). 
11. The highest level of authorities, including Nwa Thein Sein's Presidential Office, propagates racism and religious bigotry - while Nwa President talks about 'inclusion and tolerance' to please the ears of his marketiing agents and business partners in US and other Western governments. 
12. The Tatmadaw feudal generals since 1979 have presided over the slow genocide of nearly 2 million Rohingya (including the Rohingyas who have fled the country as the direct result of several major waves of terror which began in February 1979). 
13. Military feudalism is being pursued. (Only the army-bred officers are now entrusted with top positions, from the Commander in Chief to the head of military intelligence to other strategic positions). 
14. The military has institutionalized and consolidated its signature neo-Fascist Militarism - Generals and ex-Generals, "Pure Patriots" but dissidents and civilians, not patriotic enough or capable.

Where are the much-hyped up 'reforms'? Are these signs of a regime that is merely back-sliding from those 'reforms'?

Aman Ullah
RB Analysis
October 9, 2014

On Burma attaining independence on 4th January 1948, it ceased to be a part of the British Commonwealth which it left of its own choice. However, at that time the inhabitants of the country consisted of persons of indigenous, mixed and foreign stock. Citizenship was partly defined by the Constitution thereby assuring citizenship rights to the indigenous and mixed races, but the task of defining citizenship more completely was left to the parliament. Laws were promulgated by the Parliament from time to time to define citizenship and to provide for its acquisition and anyone who was not a citizen was classified as a foreigner. 

The “Residents of Burma Registration Act” was enact in 1949 as Act No.41, 1949 and a nine members committee was formed June 1950 to draft it’s rules in the name of ‘National Registration Rules Drafting Committee’ headed by U Ka Si, Secretary for Home Affairs. After finalizing the draft the committee submitted it to the Government for approval and the Parliament approved the Rules in the February 1951 session. It was circulated by the Ministry of Homes on February 23, 1951 as Gazette notification No. 117 in a name of , ‘Residents of Burma registration Rules, 1951’

In order to carry out the provisions of the Act and Rules, the President may appoint the Chief Registration Officer for the whole country in order to maintain the Registration List. The President may appoint Registration Officer, Assistant Registration Officer and other staff in order to perform duties conferred under this Act. Duties, powers and functions of the Chief Registration Officer, Registration Officer, Assistant Registration Officer and other staff are in the manner as prescribed in the rules made under this Act. 

Headmen of the wards appointed under the Town Act and/or village headmen appointed under the Village Act shall perform the duties and responsibilities of the record keepers in their respective jurisdiction. Chief Registration Officer or any officer empowered by the Chief Registration Officer may appoint any volunteered data collector for any registration area or part of the area. The Chief Registration Officer may direct any data collector to produce a testimonial admitting that he has performed his duties properly and empower any assistant registration officer in this regards. 

Every person residing in Burma shall furnish, for registration purposes, (his/her) particulars as required under this Act or its rules made there under. The Registration Officer or Assistant Registration Officer shall, in accordance with the rules made under this Act, issue to every person who has registered as such, a registration card as a proof of identity and containing prescribed particulars. 

The data collector shall make the registration list relating to the persons residing within his jurisdiction by preparing three sets of Form 1 recording the personal particulars mentioned in it. Whoever when required by the record keeper or data collector to reduce the signature on registration forms, registration card and identity card, is responsible to do so accordingly. Should the said person be illiterate, he shall place his fingerprint in lieu of signature. Record keeper or data collector shall endorse the authenticity of signature or fingerprint.

Notwithstanding anything in the above rules, the foreigners shall be exempted from the application of the said rules other than rule 29 and 31. The foreigners who were registered under 1940 Foreigner Registration rules shall be deemed that they are being registered under these rules. For the matters in the rule 29 and 31, the registration card issued under 1940 Foreigner Registration Rules shall be deemed that the card is issued under these rules.

Registration and issuing these cards was commenced on March 1, 1952 by visiting door to door in every nock and corner of the area in Rangoon District and in other 7 towns including Akyab on April1, 1952 (1953 Burma gazetteers vol.1, page-819). The tasks of Maungdaw, Buthidaung, Rathedaung and others 20 townships were commenced on August 1, 1953 (1954 Burmese gazetteers Vol.1, page-197).

All NRC issued in earlier years bear no additional remarks. A remark stating, “Holding this certificate shall not be considered as a conclusive proof of as to citizenship” was sealed later on NRCs. The reason behind this extra remark sealed later was the best known to the authorities. Perhaps one of the objectives of 1978, Dragon King Operation was to stamp the above remark on all NRCs.

NRCs were issued to all residents (mainly citizens) whilst registered foreigners (under Foreigners Registration Act and Rule of 1948) were issued FRCs. There was no third category of people in Burma, then. As a result, NRCs were used as a proof of nationality or citizenship. This is the most authentic document concerning Rohingya’s citizenship. 

NRC is a bona fide document that allowed one to carry on all his national activities, without let or hindrance: -- to possess moveable and immovable or landed properties, pursue education, including higher studies and professional courses in the country’s seats of learning, right to work and public services, including armed forces, and to obtain Burmese passport for travelling abroad, including pilgrimage to Holy Makkah. 

According to the 1973 census, the population of Akyab Township was 140,000; Maungdaw 223,320; Buthidaung 163,353; and Rathedaung 95,270. FRC holders in Akyab were 841, Maungdaw 109, Buthidaung 203 and Rathedaung 55. There were also 1528 people without any documents. That’s means that there were 619, 195 persons NRC holders, 1, 208 persons FRC holders and 1528 persons undocumented in these townships, where more than 60% of total population was Rohingyas at that time.

However, since 1970 no NRC cards were issued to the Rohingyas, whereas, as per the regulation every person above the age of 12 years would have to have NRCs. In addition to this, the government launched a military operation since 1974 in the name of ‘Sabe Operation’. During that operation thousands of Rohingyas’ NRCs were seized without any legal authorities, on various pretexts which were never returned. In these ways thousands of the poor and natural born Rohingyas were classified as foreigners, alleging filtrated from Bangladesh. Thus, the system of issuing the NRCs was directed to fit into a well-planned policy of de-nationalizing the Rohingyas of Arakan.

Moreover, following the promulgation of the 1982 Citizenship Law, all residents in Burma had to reapply for citizenship, exchanging their old identity documents for new one. In 1989, a further change was made and all residents had to apply for new Citizenship Scrutiny Cards, (in Burmese ‘naing-ngan-tha si-sit-ye kat-pya’), rather than the Identity Cards (in Burmese 'amyu-tha hmat-pon-tin kat-pya’). The new cards are colour-coded for essay identification of the citizenship status of the bearer. Pink cards were given to full citizens, blue for associate citizens and green for naturalized citizens. 

The cards must be carried at all the times, the cards number has to be given when buying tickets; registering children in schools; staying overnight with friends or relatives outside one’s own council area; applying for any professional post, including all civil service posts; buying or exchanging land and other every days life.

Thus, denying the right to citizenship in Burma is denying all the civil rights in Burma, such as the right to freedom of movement, the right to education, the right to own property, the right to be employed as civil servants’, and so on. 

One of the key points of the Memorandum of Understandings (MOUs), on the repatriation of Rohingya refugees, between Burma and Bangladesh and between Burma and UNHCR was that returnees be granted “appropriate identification”. In practice, however, this initially meant that the returnees received “returnee identification cards” yellow colour cards which only identified them as persons having returned from Bangladesh by giving them no legal status.

In July 1995, in response to UNHCR’s intensive advocacy efforts to document the Rohingyas, the regime moved to regularize the population of northern Arakan by issuing new cards to all Rohingya residents. The new card, which is called Temporary Registration Card (TRC), was issued under the 1949 Residents of Burma Registration Act and the 1951 Residents of Burma Registration Rules, both of which acts were superseded by the 1982 Citizenship Law but were reintroduced in order to be used solely for the registration of Rohingyas.

Under the 1951 Residents of Burma Registration Rules, The record-keeper may issue "Temporary registration certificate (TRC)” for any of the following reasons:

· If record-keeper suppose that entry in the registration record has been done completely in a proper way. 

· If an application is submitted to issue another card in lieu of the card, which is lost or damage or faded out? 

· If there is specific reasons by general or special order.

TRC means a certificate issued in lieu of the registration card and a proof of identity valid for a certain period specified in the certificate. The TRC must be in accord with form (3) attached to the back of this rules. The validity duration of TRC may be restricted by fixing a deadline. The holder of TRC shall surrender his card to record-keeper within 7 days after validity of the card expires. The record-keeper may reissue that card endorsing it for validity extension as and when necessary or he may issue new TRC.

The TRC carry a number, as well as the bearer’s name, photograph, year of birth, ethnicity and religion, colour of hair and eyes, father’s name and father’s ethnicity and religion, and there was nothing on the card to show place of birth or residence.

On the 32nd day of the second regular session of the first Pyithu Hluttaw, on October 4, 2013, U Maung Maung of Thayawady Constituency asked whether there was a plan to issue citizen scrutiny cards to persons born of parents of foreign-blood on recommendation of district level authority in a same period of time it took when the cards were issued to those born of parents both of whom are nationals citizens.

Union Minister for Immigration and Population U Khin Yi replied that Section 6 of the 1982 Myanmar Citizenship Law stated that “A person who is already a citizen on the date this law comes into force is citizen.” 

Therefore, those persons of mixed blood were approved as citizens by October 15, 1982, had been applied to become citizens in accordance with the rules and regulations. It would take time to issue citizen scrutiny cards to persons of mixed nationalities as it needed to inspect whether they made false representation to get the citizen status.

Therefore, the process of issuing citizen scrutiny cards took time and only region/state head of Immigration and National Registration departments were vested with authority to issue the citizen scrutiny cards to persons born of parents of foreign-blood. Not to make mistakes in the process, the citizen scrutiny cards were issued to persons of mixed blood by the director-general of the Immigration and National Registration Department as from November, 2005, in accordance with the directive. To avoid delays in the process, the directive was relaxed as from 4, April, 2007, and region and state head of the immigration and national registration departments had issued the cards to them. The ministry would consider to relax the rules and regulations concerning issuing the citizen scrutiny card to persons born of parents of foreign-blood if it became necessaries.

However, till to-day those Rohingyas who applied proving that they have Burmese nationality back to all eight great-grandparents were either rejected or were still waiting for decision. In addition to this, almost all Rohingyas were exclude from UN founded nation-wide census earlier this year, the first in three decades, because they did not want to register as Bengalis. And with a controversial so-called Rakhine Action Plan, the present Thein Sein Government is going to make almost all the Rohingyas not only ineligible for citizenship but also possible detainment or deportation until and unless they themselves identify as Rohingya not Bengalis.

(Photo: Reuters)

By Dr. Maung Zarni
RB Analysis
July 7, 2014

Here is what is in store for Myanmar

Naypyidaw regime will 'tolerate' - dare I say even unleash -- acts of destabilize the social and political environment through its shadow/proxy networks such as 969 and 'League of Defense of Buddhism and Bama Race' - ahead of 2015 elections and in the midst of Aung San Suu Kyi's campaign to change the military's Constitution of 2008.

What is needed is a combination of 1) domestic/popular and effective opposition to this kind of racist mobilization and 2) serious pressure from strategically placed foreign governments and institutions with leverage with Nwa Thein Sein regime.

However, the following factors work in favor of the perpetuation of the military rule, in whatever disguises.
  1. anti-Muslim popular racism
  2. near complete control of access to natural resources (save a few armed ethnic groups)
  3. lucrative business licenses (and conversely corporate greed - such as Norway's Telenor and Statoil and Qartar's Ooredoo - to prey on)
  4. the country being strategically important to China (and thus India, Japan and USA) (playing the British Ministry of Defence, the Pentagon, etc. against PLA)
  5. the international financial institutions and development funding agencies, whose ultimate missions - however they are framed (for instance, MDG, poverty reduction, economic growth, livelihoods, 3 Diseases, etc.) - are making the emerging post-socialist states work for the international corporations - otherwise known as 'Free Market'
  6. Aung San Suu Kyi-led opposition's hopelessly un-strategic and extremely poor organizational and intellectual capacity
  7. near-absence of liberal, humanistic thoughts and deeds among average Joes
  8. ceasefire deals and negotiations and the IMPOSSIBILITY AND INABILITY of non-Bama ethnic leaderships to gain majority popular support beyond their own respective ethnic circles
  9. the irreplaceable UN membership
  10. full backing of the regional block - ASEAN - and its equally Neanderthal member states
  11. the deeply conservative - some might even say - ideologically and sociologically regressive -- character of the Burmese Buddhist Order
  12. the neutered university student bodies that were once officially designated threat to the military; and last but not least,
  13. the non-revolutionary character of the Burmese society at large

(Photo: AFP)

By Z. M. Babar
RB Analysis
April 10, 2014

The current nationwide census of Burma (Myanmar) started on the 29th March, one day before the scheduled dates and set to end on 10th April, 2014. For Naypyitaw, it is maybe the best luckiest time as it has allocated more than 100 million USD for its military generals and radical elements. How? If we look at the images and videos of enumerators accompanied by excess security forces, it is more likely to be marching towards the enemies. Very simple math it is! There are 100,000 teachers assigned for conducting the 12-day long census for a total number of 1.2 million households of all over Myanmar. According to this figure, it could be fixed that one enumerator has to visit only less than (0.9) house a day for completing the task within 12 days. Based on earlier reports, approximately, there is a pack of 62 million population waiting to be enlisted in the census program. Then, we could say that one enumerator has to meet a household of five family members in average per day and even less than this figure as all the family members are not entitled to answer the questions. Now, we should look at the budget which is more than $100 million (UNFPA approved $70 million alone while UK 10 million Pounds). If so, every enumerator should get 1000 USD which is more than seven hundred thousand Myanmar Kyat roughly. But government has promised them to pay 8,000 Kyat / day. Then, every single enumerator has to receive a voucher of 104,000 Kyat at the end of the census which is one-tenth of the amount they were promised. Surprisingly! Many enumerators complained that they are being paid half of the promised amount by the authorities. On the other hand, the confession of enumerators may be true if it was true that every Rohingya household was forced to pay 3000-4000 Kyat in Arakan in the name of payment to enumerators or just extortion by the township administration. 

Very curiously, the most funniest and meaningless thing ever I have experienced in this census is the number of enumerators accompanied by various government agencies in red-scarf on their shoulders indicating they will give blood or take blood if necessary. But it is very opposite, in social media, we have seen many pictures and videos where flocks of enumerators here and there scattered are marching towards a Rohingya village or household while accompanied by more excess security forces plus other different departments. According to data and respective statistics, only one enumerator is enough to carry the job for a household a day. It is a very easy job for a school-teacher who has always engaged with more than 100 students in a classroom for eight hours per day. This census could be termed as one of the disorganized tasks assigned to the hungry birds. All these odd scenarios indicated that the entire project and budget of the census are being consumed very quickly and ended up with nothing good for the nation and its people, especially the long awaited people for restoration of their lost ethnic identity whom are known as ‘ Rohingya’ by ethnicity in the world history of civilization. Let me highlight about the connection of nasty things that the census brought with it. Many analysts objected the fund approval of the census as a concern of premature and early to take this step because the communal violence, hate speech, 969 terror network of radical monks has not been stopped yet. As the analysts and experts predicted, it has called new campaign for Rohingya ‘starvation in hunger, die in empty-stomach, leave empty-handed or accept Bengali as your ethnicity’ by attacking INGOs offices and suspending Doctors without Borders (MSF). This campaign should be considered as an indirect genocide or ethnocide. If such condition on Rohingyas continues in Arakan, Myanmar is not very far away from facing a civil war of cannibals. The Rohingya IDPs and non-IDPs whom were being threatened by different means may eat or burn themselves to save their ethnicity but there is another option which is opposite. 

Forced Bengalization and checking family lists are not new or strange experiences for those Rohingyas who have been living in Northern Arakan for decades as there are routine check-ups every six to nine months by the then Nasaka forces either to extort money or to put a red-mark on the name of a family member who have left the country. What is new now is the silent, very non-violent revolution of Rohingya amazingly in withstanding on their real ethnic identity which has been labeled, snatched away by successive military regimes until now! There is theory called ‘reaction for an action’. If harsh conditions are applied to a soft thing, it becomes very hard to break (e. g, from muddy to brick, brick to rock, rock to iron). In Rohingya tradition, we say that if you squeeze an orange too much, it will give you bitter taste. So, the more you squeeze the orange, the higher the bitterness and one day, your all taste buds could be possibly destroyed. Therefore, it is the time for Naypyitaw to play a neutral role in solving all differences among the Muslims and Buddhists. If the current ideology of Buddhism taught by radical monk, Wirathu has been followed, the world may become into thousand pieces as it needs one country one religion and one community in purest manner. This is very foolish and silly idea to think in these modern days when we are seeking multi-cultural nature and its beauty without hatred, racial discrimination and so on. For achieving this goal, we need to educate the people, release them to move freely, allow inter-faith marriage; ensure citizenship rights, rule of law, security and safeguard all ethnic minorities. Doing campaign to eliminate non-Buddhist communities from Myanmar is as similar as opposing its original natural beauty as it has been awarded with many different colors and races. At the same time, religious tolerance is very important! We need to tolerate each other as if Rohingyas who have been tolerating serious inhumanities more than five decades.

(Photo: Facebook)

By U Ne Oo
March 29, 2014

The Rakhine nationalists' mob attack on international aid workers last week is showing the early signs of genocidal tendency towards Rohingyas. Various international NGOs, including UN World Food Program, had been working in Rakhine State since 1994 refugee repatriation. This is not a simple case of unruly mob randomly attacking INGOs. Clearly, there are underlying political motives on removing/attacking those INGOs. Unless U Thein Sein government put a stop to these mob intimidation and violence, there is potential to escalate into a large scale conflict. Such escalation of conflict will pose a threat to Burma's democratic transitions.

Should such escalation of conflict eventuated to a large scale, it will serve in the interest of RNDP and Rakhine nationalists. Surely, there must be elements within Burmese military who would be watching with intense interest on this situation.

Nationalist Agendas

By removing international aid workers, the Rakhine nationalists think they can silence advocates of Rohingyas. By sabotaging census-collecting process, the Rohingyas will become 'unregistered forever' in the Rakhine State. Should UN WFP were to withdraw from Rakhine State, hardships for Rohingyas will increase and will trigger greater ever flight for them to Bangladesh. These are the kind of simplistic mob agendas which RNDP, Wirathu and PBMU monks are trying to promote.

Some of those who are reasonably well informed about politics, this kind of genocidal agendas are un-thinkable. And some would even say that can never happen in Burma.

Unfortunately, the world's history had proven time and again that such genocides can happen, especially in transition. One example is the rise of nationalist leader Slobodan Milosevic in the 80s in former Yugoslavia. Once this kind of natiolanist leader is in power, it is sure to have much political violence and bloodshed.

Intolerance -- the early signs

What we have repeatedly seen in Rakhine State in particular and in proper Burma at large is the form of racial and religious intolerance against a minority group. As I mentioned before, this kind of intolerance will be resonating with greater majority of Burmese masses. The populist Monk Wirathu and nationalist groups like RNDP will ride on the waves of such intolerance using freedom of speech as a vehicle. Needless to say, there are such populist and racist elements are within even in Australia with the same secenario for riding the tides of intolerance.

Then again, in a democratic and open society, such a freedom of speech MUST be allowed. In comparison to a mature democracy like Australia, Burma in a transitional state does not have a proper balancing powers. In Australia, for example, certain populist leaders within Executive Powers can impose racist laws as measures to margnialise minorities. In such case, there will be opposition by civil society -- reflected in Parliament and Senate, reinforced by regular and periodic general elections -- and a challenge at the High Court (Constitutional Court of Australia). As such, the excesses of Executive Powers can be put on a break by the other balancing powers.

The danger Burma is facing now is not having such balancing powers. At the end of the day, people like Wirathu and group like RNDP which has racist agendas will be Burma in the future. U Thein Sein government, for a short and medium term therefore, should put in place strong protection for international aid workers and their operations. The freedom of speech is to be allowed but incitation of mob violence should not be tolerated. The rights to organize and assemble is to be respected, but those with intent to break the laws and initiate violence must be punished.

For the long term though, Burma will need an independence of judiciary, and especially setting up of a Constitutional Court. For example, the interfaith marriage laws which proposed by PBMU, even if being approved by the Burmese Parliament, should be scrutinized and challenged at the Constitutional Court. As we can see, the democracy is not all about 'majoritarian rule'. And certainly, the democratic political leadership isn't quite the same as populist mob-leadership. In democracy, while the freedom of speech is allowed, the rights of minority must be protected. A true political leadership must rise above those mob agendas. Otherwise, Burma's transition will fail.

Future for INGOs

For the INGOs and UN, I think this is about time to ponder forming a consortium of some sort for their humanitarian work in Burma. Whilst there have been set-backs in their operations, they should not be discouraged. Those who have Burma expertise should now formulate a policy of reintegrating Rohingyas and development of Rakhine State as a whole. 

I also think those community and resistance leaders in exile & resistance should also look for models of reintegration for their respective displaced people. For example, Karen and Kachin community leaders in particular; they should look at finding international assistance when ceasefire and peace previals in Burma. Obviously, for refugees in Thailand and elsewhere, the resettlement option is limited and, definitely, not for everybody: I heard years ago, a Karen refugee individual who took suicide option when resettlement to abroad was for him (He's not insane -- I dare say).

By Dr. Maung Zarni
February 21, 2014

Matt Smith, formerly Human Rights Watch researcher and author of the HRW report on the Rohingya ethnic cleansing in June and Oct 2012, -- - will be presenting the findings of his independent investigation of the leaked official Myanmar documents 

These leaked documents are said to have established the state's policy , in writing, - at both local and national levels - of discrimination, persecution, abuse and otherwise destruction of the ROHINGYA as a group, a community and a people in Western Burma. 

For time, date and venue - see the attached PDF. 

The government's official estimate puts the number of Myanmar's Rohingya at about 1.33 million. Only 40,000 hold citizenship or any legal documentation. 

Out of the 5 genocidal acts spelled out clearly in the Article 6, Rome Statute (july 2002 and 1948 Geneva Convention on the Crimes of Genocide), successive Burmese military governments since in 1970's have, verifiably, guilty of 4. 

The predominantly Buddhist society at large - the one that taught me the virtues of Metta (Buddhist term for 'universal loving kindness') is secondarily murderous towards the Rohingya through their popularly genocidal speeches, ideas, attitudes etc. 

I have co-authored a baseline study of the Rohingya persecution based on the findings from a 3-full year empirical research on this issue, interviews with the Rohingya, communications with ex-Burmese military officers including junior generals, religious leaders, human rights researchers, etc since 2011. 

The said study (27,000-words) will be published in the forthcoming issue of the Pacific Rim Law and Policy Journal (Spring 2014), the University of Washington Law School - see

For those of us who have systematically studied the Rohingya persecution over at least 3 and a half decades, the above-mentioned leaked official documents only reinforce and lend further credibility to our definitive conclusion. 

The question is NOT whether Myanmar is committing a genocide against the Rohingya, but rather why has the international community, so-called, opted to NOT call the plight of the 1.33 million Rohingya by its proper name: genocide or more accurately, a slow-burning genocide. 

If you think the terms genocide or the slow-burning genocide are nothing but an activist spin to get the world's attention just have a look at the objective facts on the ground, which result from the official state policies - that is, THE INTENT: 


in the two largest pockets of Rohingya in the country - Buthidaung and Maung Daw, the doctor patient ratios are estimated to be: 76, 000: 1 (doc) and 83,000: 1 (doc) (national and local/provincial ratios are about 375:1 and 550:1 for non-Rohingya 

1. B

The Rohingya are NOT allowed to train in medical field, or any other professional disciplines.

2. 60,000 Rohingya children are not registered - in direct violation of the Right of the Child to have a nationality at birth. 

3. infant mortality rate and the mortality rate among children below 5 among the Rohingya children are also twice or thrice national average. 

4. over 80-90% of the Rohingya adults are illiterate in a country which won a UN-award for the eradication of illiteracy among adults. They are by and large denied access to schooling. 

5. over 140,000 are placed in semi-concentration camps where extraction of forced labor is rampant, sexual violence, summary execution and extortion are norms. 

6. out of a myriad of Burma's ethnic groups, the state has developed and attempted to enforced ethnic population control as a matter of policy, ONLY AMONG the Rohingya - both through severe marriage restrictions and in many cases forced sterilization 

7. law enforcement agencies throughout the Rohingya regions of Western Burma enjoy TOTAL AND BLANKET IMMUNITY from whatever persecutorial acts the former may engage in - rape, gang-rape, execution, abduction, daily abuses, threats, intimidations, etc - 24/7 and year round. 

8. the Rohingya who are NOT put in the semi-concentration camps have been living in a total of 11 security grids with heavily armed guarded posts, and their physical movements even between one community to the other are closely monitored, controlled and forbidden at the pleasure of both central and local state authorities. 

9. Myanmar governments regularly deny any wrong doings while covering up its mass atrocities against the Rohingya and disposes countless number of dead bodies of the murdered or slaughtered Rohingya - male, female, children and elderly 

10. empirically, Myanmar governments, in close collaboration of the local Nazi-inspired segments of the Rakhine Buddhists and backed by the popularly genocidal Buddhist public, have long attempted to deny, restrict or otherwise make it difficult for the delivery of any humanitarian aid, including basic survival food, to the Rohingya. 

11. these Myanmar governments are found to be engaged in a pattern of systematic and verifiable attempts aimed at the destruction of the social and economic foundations of the Rohingya community at large over the past nearly 40 years. 

12. the destruction of the Rohingya as a group, in whole or in part, began with Burma/Myanmar government's deliberate erasure/destruction of their identity, both self-referential and formerly officially recognized, as ROHINGYA - as early as 1982. (through the Rakhine-nationalist-inspired Citizenship Act of 1982 enacted under General Ne Win's one-man dictatorial rule - 1962-88). 

12. Talking about them as simply 'citizenship-less' or 'stateless-people' is to look at the symptom of the state-sponsored slow-burning genocide which began in the late 1970's with the first state-directed large scale wave of repression of the Rohingya. 

13. No UN agencies, no foreign power, 'Eastern' or 'Western', no multilateral organizations, no reputable academics or lawyers are calling the Rohingya genocide a genocide - because, as Human Rights Watch's 12-page report in 1993, put it - and I am paraphrasing it - there is no strategic gains or commercial benefits from ending the Rohingya's suffering! 

Successive waves of ground staff of international and UN agencies, especially those with even the rudimentary understanding of the Genocide Convention - KNOW first hand this: what they have witnessed about the plight of the Rohingya most definitely amounts to a GENOCIDE. However, as a matter of policy, UN gags its staff, both local and international. 

The United Nations agencies around the world are well-documented to trade their silence in exchange for access to the country - access to do what? put a band-aid in a cancerously genocidal context??? 

Now thanks to FortifyRights and its founder Matt Smith, the world will see first hand the documentary evidence behind the Rohingya genocide.

The world, especially the governing global institutions, must bear the responsibility to protect the 1.33 million Rohingya when Myanmar itself is the main genocidal perpetrator. 

Further, the new documentary evidence should reshape or re-shape significantly the argument about the Rohingya - from the simply 'religious' or 'sectarian' to the GOVERNMENT(s) of Burma or that the violence against the Rohingya is an unfortunate but 'not unnatural part of any democratic opening of formerly closed societies - the argument that has been put into circulation by individuals, governments and organizations (for instance, the International Crisis Group, Indonesia, etc. ) that want to cozy up to the Burmese regime which is neither democratic nor transitional - in any meaningful sense of the words. 

That means the partnering foreign governments and businesses, UN agencies, international financial institutions can be considered, in theory and practice, culpable - BOTH the Obama Admin and David Cameron government, for instance and complicit in the genocide of the Rohingya. 

Never again! will remain a cheap slogan as long as the international community, especially those who run global governing institutions, look the other way when ending the genocidal plight of the Rohingya is considered to have no strategic or commercial value.

(Photo: AP)

By Regina Paulose
December 26, 2013

Nearly a year ago, I wrote an article outlining reasons why the ICC should take action in Myanmar (also known as Burma) in order to stop continued religious and ethnic violence towards the Rohingya. During 2013, not surprisingly, the anti-Muslim violence in Myanmar has continued.[1] In fact, violence has spread beyond targeting the Rohingya and against the larger Muslim population.[2] Although, the majority displaced from the violence are still the Rohingya.

The human rights abuses against the Rohingya in Myanmar have continued, which includes but is not limited to extrajudicial killings, random imprisonment,[3] recruitment of child soldiers, violence against women, and policies which endorse statelessness[4] of the minority group. The government has not taken any significant actions to prevent anti-Muslim groups, such as the 969 Buddhists from continuing on their killing spree.[5]

What do the great nations have to say about such behavior? They have rewarded Myanmar’s “democratic reforms” with trade, despite pleas from the human rights community that such measures will continue anti-Muslim abuses.[6]Unfortunately, the ability of Western countries to sweep this violence under the carpet is par for the course.

Anti-Muslim violence and bigotry is on the rise around the world. In the European Union, violence and bigotry towards Muslims continues.[7] Restrictions on practicing Islam (such as wearing the head scarf) continue to be justified throughout Europe. In the EU, some say that the resurgence of the “far right” and their inflammatory rhetoric in mainstream political culture have incited anti-Muslim sentiment and have continued anti-Semitic rhetoric as well.[8]Some link hate speech directly to hate crimes.[9] In Russia, nationalists have taken to the streets to demonstrate their anger towards Muslim migration, the sentiment shared with other Neo Nazi groups throughout Europe.[10] In the United States, during 2012, Muslim hate crimes saw an increase compared to recent years and the number may be larger because many of the crimes go unreported.[11] In China, persecution of the Uighur Muslims continues because of potential “terrorist” or “separatist” activity.[12]

In Myanmar, we have had a humanitarian issue on our hands. Now, it is beginning to spiral into other problems. Thai officials are now being accused of trafficking the Rohingya.[13] Interestingly, the idea that the Rohingya may be victims of human trafficking (instead of ethnic persecution) has gotten the attention of the United States and the United Nations. Since Myanmar does not afford the Rohingya citizenship, the persecution of the Rohingya leaves little options in where they can seek refuge. Bangladesh does not seem to have the ability to continue to provide safety to the Rohingya, because of internal security concerns, such as terrorists hiding within Rohingya refugee camps.[14] India also has been met with a large influx of Rohingya, due to brutal persecution in Myanmar.[15]

Democracy has not saved the Rohingya, but will it ever?

Practical steps need to be taken in order to stop this calamity. The international community should begin with asking Myanmar to become a party to the Refugee Convention of 1951 and its accompanying Protocol of 1967.[16] This should also include requesting Myanmar to make a “pledge” to prevent statelessness.[17] Beyond acceding to these international treaties and conventions, the criminal acts that are being committed need to be addressed. In November 2013, the US Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C., projected images of the Rohingya to raise awareness regarding the “unfolding tragedy.”[18] It is clear that crimes against humanity are occurring and despite “democratic reforms” the government is endorsing and/or participating in this violence.[19]

If the ICC is looking to make its mark in Asia, start in Myanmar.

[1] International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect, “The Crisis in Burma” accessed December 26, 2013, available at:

[2] Thomas Fuller, “In Myanmar, Revival of Attacks on Muslims” New York Times, October 2, 2013, available at:

[3] FIDH, “Burma: It is time to free all human rights defenders and stop ongoing arbitrary arrests and imprisonment” December 17, 2013, available at:

[4] UNHCR, “Statelessness” available at: See also UNHCR, “Expert Meeting: The Concept of Stateless Persons under International Law Summar Conclusions” May 27-28, 2010, available at:

[5] I.S. Thandwe, “The Silence of the Muezzin” The Economist, October 29, 2013, available at:

[6] Bloomberg News, “U.S. moved to Boost Myanmar Trade Ties After EU Lifts Sanctions” April 24, 2013, available at:

[7] Al Arabiya News, “US denounces “rise” in anti-sentiment in Europe, Asia” May 20, 2013, available at:

[8] Matthew Schofield, “Far-right Hate Crimes creep back into German society” The Miami Herald, December 24, 2013, available at:

[9] Hansdeep Singh, Simran Jeet Singh, “The Rise of Hate Crimes can be Tied Directly to Hateful Speech” The Daily Beast, September 6, 2012, available at:

[10] Agence France Presse, “Russian Nationalists stage Anti-Muslim march in Moscow” November 4, 2013, available at:

[11] Mary Potok, “FBI: Anti-Muslim Hate Crime Remain Relatively High” Southern Poverty Law Center, December 10, 2012, available at:

[12] Human Rights Watch, “China: Religious Repression of Uighur Muslims” April 13, 2005, available at:

[13] Marshall, Szep, and Mohammed, “UN, US call for investigations into Thai Trafficking of Rohingya” Reuters, December 6, 2013, available at:

[14] Utpala Rahman, “The Rohingya Refugee: A Security Dilemma for Bangladesh” Journal of Immigrant and Refugee Studies, 8:233-239 (2010), available at:

[15] Palash Ghosh, “Rohingya Muslim Migrants Caught in Limbo Between India and Bangladesh” International Business Times, September 6, 2013, available at:

[16] Saw Greh Moo, “Burma needs a practical long term policy for the Rohingya issue” December 25, 2013, available at:

[17] UNHCR, “State Action on Statelessness” available at:

[18] Matthew Pennington, “Holocaust Museum highlights Myanmar’s Rohingya” Associated Press/ WTOP 103.5 FM, November 6, 2013, available at:

[19] Human Rights Watch, “Burma: End ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ of Rohingya Muslims” April 22, 2013, available at: See also Dr. Habib Siddiqui, “International Rohingya Conference in the USA calls for Stopping Genocide in Myanmar” December 24, 2013, available at:

Maung Aurther
RB Analysis
July 12, 2013

The institution of NaSaKa (Border Security Force) has been abolished by the government of Myanmar today. According to the announcement order “59/2013” issued by the President’s Office today (i.e. July 12, 2013), the institution has been abolished from today onward. 

The sudden abolishment of NaSaKa might come as a shocker to many and at the same time, the news might sound sweet to some. Meanwhile, many can’t decide whether it is for better or worse. 

NaSaKa force was founded by the toppled ex-general Khin Nyunt in early 1990s. Some of the purposes behind the establishment of the NaSaKa Force were:

(1) To put restrictions on Rohingyas’ marriages
(2) To limit Rohingyas’ birth
(3) To confine their movements and travels
(4) To carry out regularly twice a year census operation against Rohingyas
(5) To depopulate their population by exerting various pressures on them, torturing them in many ways, driving them out of Arakan, even killing them 
(6) And many.

In short, it was a force and tool created to implement ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas and genocide against them. Therefore, NaSaKa Force had been red-handed with blood of Rohingyas right from its establishment. 

Moreover, especially in the ongoing violence against Rohingyas in Arakan that erupted in June 2012, the destructive role that NaSaKa played in the cleansing of Rohingyas has been spotlighted by various human rights groups, international community and Rohingya community themselves.

Therefore, the intention behind the sudden abolishment of NaSaKa Institution can be interpreted in many ways.

(1) NaSaKa had been the effective tool machine in exterminating Rohingyas. And hence, it committed countless crimes against humanity. The only way for the government to get impunity for those crimes committed by the institution is the abolishment of the institution. WE MUST NOT FORGET THAT NASAKA COULD ACT UPON NOTHING WITHOUT THE COMMANDMENT FROM THE CENTRAL GOVERNMENT OF MYANMAR. HENCE, THE GOVERNMENT OF MYANMAR MUST ANSWER FOR ALL THE CRIMES AGAINST ROHINGYAS, NOT ONLY NASAKAS. Nevertheless, the current pseudo civilian government made up of ex-generals can easily shake off any accusations against them and hence will be able to get impunity.

(2) The abolishment can merely be a replacement of old and rusty exterminating machine with a new, efficient and effective one. That is to say NaSaKa is being replaced with a well-trained, worse, more cruel institution effective in exterminating Rohingyas. 

(3) Or it can be just a mind game, without practical implementation of the abolishment, to change people’s perceptions on Myanmar. 

Meanwhile, the responsibilities of NaSaKa can be taken over either by Police or by Military. If Police, composed of mainly Rakhine extremist, are handed over the responsibilities of NaSaKa, then Rohingyas especially in Maung Daw and Buthidaung are going to face a life of hell. 

However, we pray and hope everything turns out to be peaceful and better for all the people living in Myanmar.
Rohingya Exodus