NLD denies news report saying it demands to give citizenship to Bengalis
The story of The Independent news agency reported NLD demanded government to give citizenship rights to Bengalis so-called Rohingyas
Opposition party National League for Democracy (NLD) denied that their party didn’t ask the government to give citizenship rights to Bengalis refugees adrift on the sea as reported in UK-based The Independent, said NLD’s spokesperson Nyan Win to the Daily Eleven on May 21.
The Independent newspaper featured a story on May 19 titled “Burma’s opposition demands government gives citizenship to Rohingya refugees adrift on the Andaman Sea”.
Nyan Win said the paper asked his view about the Bengalis and he said about it in his own opinion. And he said he didn’t talk about the demand to give citizenship to Bengalis like the title of the story mentioned.
The Independent directly quoted what Nyan Win said in the report. In an interview with The Independent, U Nyan Win said: “The problem needs to be solved by the law. The law needs to be amended. After one or two generations [of residence] they should have the right to be citizens.”
He said, “It is right that I said those words but what I said is the government should amend the 1982 Citizenship Law into the conditions which everyone can accept.”
He continued that he didn’t demand the government to accept Bengalis who are drifted on the sea as citizens.
UN Human Rights Committee once urged Myanmar government to recognize Bengalis as citizens and Nyan Win then said he didn’t accept the issue.
“I can understand that a human being should be entitled to be a citizen in accord with law but I can’t accept the term “Rohingya”. The term “Rohingya” does not existed in the history of Myanmar. If they use Rohingya, I don’t accept,” said Nyan Win at that time.
Does Aung San Suu Kyi – notoriously reticent on the Rohingya issue – share her party’s spokesman’s views about their right to citizenship? “I don’t know,” he said, read the Independent’s story.
Reporters asked Aung San Suu Kyi about what she thinks in concerned with the issues of Bengalis drifted on the sea at the same day when Nyan Win had been interviewed by The Independent.
“They are the issues to be solved by the government. It is better to ask the government about it,” Suu Kyi answered back.
During an interview with The Irrawaddy, Presidential Spokesperson Ye Htut said that the government needs to screen if some of the refugees are Myanmar citizens,and if they are, the government needs to protect them. Moreover,he also added that he views the issue as human trafficking issue rather than refugee issue and Myanmar will be cooperating with regional countries to deal the human trafficking issue.
Moreover the government is not prepared to amend the 1982 Citizenship Law and most of the people already stated it should not amend. The government is handling the issues of Bengalis who had illegally entered Myanmar and screening them for citizenship in term of the 1982 Citizenship Law.
A person who is staying as a guest citizen in Myanmar will not be entitled to give citizenship status and he or she will be entitled to apply for citizenship after staying in Myanmar for three generations. According to the 1982 Citizenship Law, persons born of parents, one of whom is a citizen and the other an associate citizen or persons born of parents, one of whom and the other a naturalized citizen or persons born of parents one of whom is a citizen or an associate citizen or a naturalized citizen or the other is born of parents, both of whom are associate citizens or the other is born of parents, both of whom are naturalized citizens or the other is born of parents, one of whom is an associate citizen and the other a naturalized citizen can be entitled to apply for citizenship.
“The best solution to the problem is to screen former white card holders according to 1982 citizenship law. When the Muja hid rebels were disarmed in 1960, U Nu government and the military recognised them as Rohingya. Under Burma Socialist Programme Party the held national registration cards as Rohingya. However, the Pink Cards were later withdrawn from them replaced with White Cards. In 2010 election, most of the residents were made to vote for military-backed Union Solidarity and Development Party in exchange for White Cards. The Rohingyas misinterpreted having the voting right as hope for citizenship. Since then, they started asking for citizenship. The problems that we face today were started then. The current government needs to solve this ugly legacy of issuing White Cards as a mean of buying votes” said Dr. ThanHtut Aung, CEO of the Eleven Media Group.
He adds, “As I understand it, some of the White Cards holders have been citizens in the country for over fifty years. Some are guest citizens. The others are illegal immigrants. The 2010 election was complicated in large part due to the White Care issue. NLD is not directly responsible for this Bengali Rohingya issue. 1982 citizenship law cannot be amended discreetly. Whoever, including NLD, push for amending this law, they might face the fate of Egyptian President Morsi”.
At present, the government instructed the white card holders to return their cards to be scrutinized and over 400,000 out of about 800,000 white card holders returned their cards to the hand of the authorities.
Myanmar has 797,504 white card holders in total and 666,381 white card holders are in Rakhine State alone, according to statistics. CR. ELEVEN MEDIA