Millennium Post

8,00,000 Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar face displacement

8,00,000 Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar face displacement
The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, said, “There are about 800,000 (white card holders) Rohingya. But by the end of this month if it (white cards) expires and they have to turn it in and enter another process by May, it is very troubling because there has been no significant plan or portrayed in any reports that I have seen of what this entire process will mean and how it will affect the white card holders”.

According to the 1982 Citizenship Law, the white card ? a temporary residence permit? is one of the many colour-coded cards used by the government to signify the status of a resident of Myanmar.
Though the white card holders were allowed to vote in 2010 and 2012, however, a notification from President Thein Sein’s office recently said the cards would expire on March 31.

White cards holders will now be required to hand them over to the authorities by May 31 and apply for citizenship.

The decision came after a huge controversy which followed after the Myanmar president granted white card holders the right to vote in a referendum on constitutional amendments.

The decision was met with much uproar from nationalist Buddhist monks.

“Although some of the Rohingya have been living for generations but since they could not prove their status when the 1982 Citizenship Law came into effect (they got a white card),” Lee noted.

In Myanmar, more than 80 per cent of the population are Buddhists and about four to five per cent are Muslims.

“Among the Muslims, whereas the Kamans are considered an ethnic group, the Rohingya are not, according to the 2008 constitutional reforms. There are many, many implications of this on their political participation,” said Lee. 
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