Friday, 23 June 2017

By Fayas Ahmed

Maungdaw, Arakan State: The Burmese government has been conducting the scheduled nationwide UN sponsored census again recently at Maungdaw Township against the local people wills. 

But, it was scheduled nationwide on March 30 to April 10, 2014 and it has discriminately excluded the entire Rohingya community from the census for self-identifying their Rohingya ethnicity.

The government has now resumed enumeration in northern Arakan threatening the Rohingya people once again to identify as Bengali, a term that implies for illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.

On June 17, four immigrations accompanied by five police went to Maung Nama village of Maungdaw north, from its headquarters, at about 8:00 am, and tried to enumerate Rohingya villagers as Bengali instead of Rohingya, so the villagers refused to take part in the enumeration. The immigration officer U Soe Myint Tun asked two Rinigya youths, why the villagers did not want to take part in the enumeration. Regarding that the two youths said--- Rohingyas are not willing to participate in the enumeration because of writing “Bengali” in placed of “Rohingya” in the census Form.

The immigration officer also asked to the youths that they have any document of Rohingyas. Concerning this question, the two youths provided him 3 to 4 family lists (photo copy), in which Rohingya is written.in the column of race.  

Again on June 18, at about 9:00 am, called a meeting at the border guard police Headquarters inviting local villagers and elders and asked them to take part in the enumeration as “Bengali” in placed of “Rohingyas” and also threatened them that those who defy the order would be unprotected of their properties and houses and they would be more restricted of movement. But the immigrations did not able to convince the villagers.

Police and immigration also went to Horja Bill (Kan Pu) village on June 10, and went to Aley Than Kyaw village of Maungdaw south on June 18, and tried to get census by force. However, they collected census of at least 50 houses from Kan Pu village by threatening the villagers. Most of the villagers refused to take part in census. The authority will take census by force or by giving threats to the villagers. 

Earlier on June 10, the border guard police personnel of headquarters also called Rohingya village elders to its headquarters at Kyigan Pyin (Kawar Bill), Maungdaw north and threatened them that those who refuse to identify--- as Rohingya in placed of Bengali would be unprotected of their houses and properties.

Earlier, the Burmese government promised to UN and donor countries that the census would be conducted in line with the international standards allowing any person to self-identify his ethnicity. But, now the Rohingya people have been terrorized to give in to the pressure of the authorities to count as Bengali. This is a deliberate cheating by the government

Rohingya people of Maungdaw Township and other Townships strongly condemn the Burmese government for its current method of census collection using threat and pressure in order to denationalize and ethnocide the whole Rohingya community.

Muslim Rohingyas have just two choices either run in small broken cannoes to any of the neighboring countries, or have to live in their ancestral land, a slow death without a doctor, with little food, where they are not allowed to marry, have children go to school or have a job.

It is very obligatory that the UN and donor countries have to pressurize the Burmese government to stop immediately all terrorization against Rohingya, and to allow them to self-identify their Rohingya ethnicity in a properly conducted census.