Myanmar gov't urged to uphold democratic principles
The European Rohingya Council has urged Myanmar's government led by Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi to uphold democratic principles and the rule of law.

"The council and the Rohingya community are deeply surprised and saddened by Suu Kyi-led government’s move in the footsteps of [the] previous Thein Sein led quasi-civilian government forcing Rohingya to self-identify as illegal immigrants by issuing so-called National Verification Card (NVC)," the council said in a written statement.

Identifying as illegal immigrants was a project that was "assumed by the Rohingya community as one of the genocidal tools pursued by previous military governments,” the council said, and the current civilian government recently restarted the project of a stateless Rohingya in some cities in Rakhine State.

A small number of Rohingya took the cards reluctantly in hopes of relieving their suffering, according to the council, but the majority of Rohingya denies getting the cards, citing no reason for participating.

"The officials and some media outlets portray Rohingya’s refusal to participate in the genocidal project as government is doing whatever it can and the Rohingya are to be blamed," the council said.

The council believes that issuing the NVC was neither in line with democratic principles nor the country’s rule of law, and "this can never be a solution for peaceful co-existence of the communities in Rakhine State."

But by allowing Rohingya to gain a sense of belonging while restoring their rights of citizenship and ethnicity "is the most promising solution for the peaceful co-existence and development of the country in general and the Rakhine State in particular," the statement added.

Since mid-2012, communal violence between ethnic Buddhists and Muslims in Rakhine has killed approximately 57 Muslims and 31 Buddhists while some 100,000 people have been displaced in camps and more than 2,500 houses burned -- most of which belonged to Rohingya.

Rakhine is also home to other Muslims, including the Kaman who are officially recognized among Myanmar’s 135 ethnic groups, unlike Rohingya -- described by the UN as the world's most persecuted ethnic minority group.

Since her party's victory in elections in November, State Counselor Suu Kyi, who also serves as the country’s foreign minister, has been under tremendous international pressure to solve problems faced by Rohingya but she has had to walk a careful balancing act out of fear of upsetting nationalists -- many of whom have accused Muslims of trying to eradicate the country's Buddhist traditions.

Suu Kyi has, however, enforced the notion that the root of many of the impoverished region's problems are economic and encourages investment in the area, which the National League for Democracy hopes will lead to reconciliation between the Buddhist and Muslim communities.

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Last Modified: 2016-06-22 18:14:26
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