Dhaka, Bangladesh
Myanmar urged to restore citizenship rights for Rohingya

Myanmar urged to restore citizenship rights for Rohingya

News Desk The government of Myanmar should ensure all voting-age Rohingya-including Rohingyas in Bangladesh-have the right to vote, said Fortify Rights on Friday as Myanmar is heading for next national elections. "Rohingya voted in past elections, and they should have the right to vote in November," said Matthew Smith, Chief Executive Officer of Fortify Rights. "Mass absentee voting is possible. The government has ample time to ensure the upcoming elections are free and fair." On July 2, the Myanmar Union Election Commission announced that national elections are scheduled for November 8. Citizenship is a requirement for voting in Myanmar, and the Government of Myanmar has long denied Rohingya access to full citizenship rights-most recently through the National Verification Card (NVC) process. However, the lack of citizenship did not prevent Rohingya in Myanmar from voting in past elections, including in 2010. The government currently has access to multiple forms of documentation of Rohingya, including household lists dating back to the 1990s, NVCs, National Registration Cards, White Cards, White Card receipts, and other previous government-issued and U.N.-issued identity documents. In collaboration with international humanitarian organizations, the Government of Myanmar and the Embassy of Myanmar in Bangladesh could use these forms of documentation as well as alternative forms of evidence, such as testimonial evidence, to determine eligibility to vote in November's election and as evidence to restore Rohingya citizenship, Fortify Rights said. On July 2, the Union Election Commission announced that Myanmar nationals living abroad could cast advanced ballots in this year's general election. The government also provided absentee voting in the 2010 and 2015 elections. On May 3, the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights-a Rohingya-refugee-led civil society organization in Bangladesh-wrote an open letter to the Union Election Commission of Myanmar asking for "voter registration and the voting process" to be "carried out in the refugee camps."

Share |