Thursday, 25 September 2014

Rohingya American Society (RAS) condemns the forced Bengalization attempt of President Thein sein Government to helpless Rohingya

Press statement of Rohingya American Society (RAS), 22 Sept

We, the leadership and members of the Rohingya American Society (RAS) strongly
condemn the forced Bengalization attempt of President Thein sein Government to 
helpless Rohingya native of the soil of Arakan (Rakhine-prey) through the immigration 
process enforcing the discriminatory 1982 Myanmar citizenship law which made the 
Rohingyas stateless in their own homeland.

In this context, we would like to reiterate that the 1982 Myanmar (Burma) citizenship 
law adopted in October 1982 by the previous Burmese Govt. led by the late General Ne 
Win is not related with the national status checking of the Rohingya Muslims of Arakan 
who are already citizens by birth and according to the 1947 Constitution, 1947 Burmese 
Residence and Registration Act, 1948 Burmese Citizenship law, and 1974 Burmese 
Constitution as well as per the 1948 Burma Independence Declaration according to the 
Nu-Atlee Agreement.

In fact this 1982 Myanmar (Burma) Citizenship law is concerned with the suspected 
foreigners and immigrants whose citizenship status needed to be scrutinized in Arakan 
such as those two hundred and fifty thousand RAKHINE (MOGS) Bangladeshi 
citizens who were born and brought up in neighboring Bangladesh and citizens of that 
country by birth, who entered into Arakan illegally and staying without the knowledge 
of Myanmar government and its central immigration organ functioning by the Rakhine 
ruling elite group.

The truth is that Rohingyas known as Mohammedan in accordance with British 
Census in 1826, 1872, 1911 and 1944 are already indigenous Myanmar citizens 
according to the Article No-3 and 6 of 1982 Myanmar citizenship law. So, enforcing and 
implementing the 1982 Myanmar citizenship law against the native Rohingya people 
forcing them to identify as Bengali is a matter of great concern to the world and UN.

This 1982 Myanmar citizenship law was intentionally created and approved by the Govt. 
of Myanmar (Burma) to exclude the Rohingya people from Myanmar citizenship rights.
The effect of the Myanmar Citizenship Law 1982 is to make it almost impossible for the 
Rohingya people to gain citizenship. This violates the Universal Declaration of Human 
Rights, the Convention on the Rights of the Child and international norms prohibiting 
discrimination of racial and religious minorities. The legal and practical constraints 
imposed by the Myanmar Citizenship Law 1982 render it "almost impossible" for the 
Rohingya people to be recognized as citizens of Myanmar. In fact that the Rohingyas 
are effectively excluded from citizenship is a clear violation of international human 
rights law. It is a fundamental principle that "everyone has the right to a nationality. This 
principle is especially important in relation to the children. 

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child provides in terms that every child "shall 
have from birth...the right to acquire a nationality". As a party to that Convention, 
Burma is obliged to "ensure the implementation" of every child's right to acquire a 
nationality. Since it is almost impossible for a Rohingya, and in particular a Rohingya 
child, to acquire Burmese citizenship, the 1982 Myanmar Citizenship Law violates the 
fundamental right to a nationality.

Moreover, since the Rohingya have no other nationality, the effect of the 1982 Myanmar 
Citizenship Law is to render them stateless. This is significant because Burma is 
specifically obliged to ensure a child's right to acquire a nationality "where the child 
would otherwise be stateless". 

Moreover, it runs contrary to many other international instruments which aim to limit 
statelessness. The 1982 Citizenship Law also violates international norms against 
discrimination. Ever since the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 it has 
been recognized as a fundamental principle that "everyone is entitled to all the rights 
and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race 
and religion". This principle has been repeated consistently in international Conventions. 
The rights of children, including the right to acquire nationality, must also be respected 
"without discrimination of any kind.

So, we sincerely urge and strongly demand the President Thein Sein Government 
to immediately stop undemocratic process of forced Bengalization of Rohingya' 
immigration process in any forms using the policy of stick and carrot to helpless 

We earnestly recommend the GOM (Government of Myanmar) to restore the 
Rohingyas' citizenship rights disregarding 1982 Myanmar Citizenship Law and 
dismantle the IDP camps allowing all Rohingyas to return to their original own places 
with full compensation and reconstruction of their villages, houses, religious school 
and places of worship (mosques) burnt and destroyed by Rakhine mob with the help of 
Burmese security forces.

We also urge the world Governments including USA, EU, ASEAN, OIC and United 
Nations to put strong pressure to Myanmar current government to cease all forms of 
human rights violation against the ethnic Rohingya people and restore their fundamental 
and citizenship rights in Myanmar to make the country a better place for all people of 

Shaukhat Kyaw Soe Aung (aka) MSK Jilani
On behalf of the Executive Committee Members
Rohingya American Society (RAS)
Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Note: Rohingya American Society (RAS) is a formerly known as "The 
Burmese Rohingya American Friendship Association (BRAFA)."

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