Unfair attitude of Myanmar Government on issuing National Registration Cards for Muslims

Myanmar Government is going to do census and checking to issue the new National Registration Cards and as they had claimed to check especially or exclusively on all the Myanmar Muslims, wrongly calling as Bengali-illegal immigrants, which amount to SELECTIVE ENFORCEMENT and SELECTIVE Prosecution so it could be called SELECTIVE PERSECUTION.

I hereby reprint my old article which could be relevant to the above issue.

Complaining about unfair attitude towards Religious Minorities   By Ko Tin Maung

Recently in one of Myanmar Times issue, there was a news article about a lady from the People’s Republic of China’s achievement of Doctorate from Yangon University and she is the first foreign student being awarded such honor. We are proud for her achievement, but we are not satisfied with the Burmese Government on the treatment of its Religious Minorities in the education field.

A young Muslim girl from Arakan state passed the matriculation exam with FIVE distinctions and total marks was 540 out of 600. She and her grandparents were born and lived in Burma. But she was not allowed to attend the Medical College nor even a normal college as “Muslims are not allowed to travel to another town even in the same state.” Almost all the countries nowadays are allowing the foreign students to study and even to work part-time in their countries. Foreign students are always free to travel in their country. It should become great news for the whole world that Religious Minorities from one place need to obtain a visa to even study in their own country. But for the Burmese people are used to this unkind regulations and the so called SPDC Military Government is not even ashamed for their cruel Apartheid Rules.  Many thousands of students like that girl were getting such unfair treatment every year. Religious Minorities Children in Myanmar have no future just because of that notorious apartheid Citizenship Law. The successive Myanmar Generals have been trying to oppress Religious Minorities since Ne Win’s era.

Last month (Feb 2007), the Declarations against Christian Solidarity Worldwide’s report_ was FORCED to sign by the Christians and Muslims leaders by the SPDC authorities and were repeatedly broadcast and published in daily news papers for days.

Just after the above forced declaration against CSW’s report, authorities of Dagon Myo Thit and Hlaing Tharyar townships (new satellite towns, just out side Rangoon), issued a circular-order stating that:

  1. No gathering allowed in privates houses for meeting, studying or discussions.
  2. No prayers are allowed to perform in privates homes.
  3. If anyone breaches such acts, the person would be charged with ACT 118.

These letters were sent only to Religious Minorities leaders and they were summoned to Township authorities’ offices to sign for an acknowledgement of receipt of the order.

It is very easy to find out whether there are religious and racial discrimination in Burma.

I still could recall an article in the Myanmar Government news paper, written by a senior official that they were being treated very well by Dr Koh Tsu Khoon, the Chief minister of Penang whose grandmother was Burmese and he was proud to be a Burmese descendent. Dr Koh Tsu Khoon could not get that post in Myanmar. Mr Obama could never be a Presidential Candidate in Burma and Mrs. Albright could not be a Secretary of State if they were in Burma.

Since year 2004 :

  1. All mixed blooded people (especially the Muslims as we are regarded as Aliens) when apply for the Citizen cards due to lost or damage or for their children, there is a virtual STOP order. It is actually a very long deliberate delay for years of a rectification process. Myanmar is a country without proper recording system and record maintenance system and they are trying to rectify the records of our ancestors.
  2. The authorities will write an official letter to a township where the children’s parents and grand parents had registered their National Registration Cards in 1957 / 58. The humidity, the hot weather and the termites had destroyed most of the records. Sometimes, fire, flood or the human errors like misplaced files would lead to no answer, under process or “NO RECORDS FOUND. The concerned family suffers for the whole live span and up to their later generations or descendents.
  3. The highest authorities may not know about this.  Please kindly try to find out whether the RECORDS of FAMILIES in Townships Office of the National Registration Departments are still in good condition or are damaged. (I saw with my owned eyes that 1989 records of my family were badly damages and eaten by the termites in Thin Gan Gyune Township, Yangon. So just think about those records kept since 1957/58 in small town office.
  4. Immigration and Manpower Department’s officers should report the actual situation of their capabilities. Spot check on a few towns’ immigration offices will reveal the actual conditions and status of records keepings. SPDC Generals should just check at their own parents’ and families’ records kept in small towns since 1957/58. Myanmar Journalists should do the same to check their records and you will realize the TRUTH.
  5. All of the closed relatives of the Muslims who converted to Buddhist have no problem in getting Citizenship cards and stated officially as Bamar nationals. Therefore, it is not the racial issue at all but the purely religious discriminations only. So according to the SPDC Generals, all the Muslims are mixed-blooded but if they or convert to Buddhism they would be treated as pure blooded Burmese citizens.
  6. Mixed blood was not defined either in 1948 or 1982 citizenship laws. Say for example in 1982 citizenship law just stipulated the categories of citizen such as
    1. Full Citizen (citizens by birth or those born from parents of citizens)
    2. Neutralized Citizen (those foreigners who apply for citizenship and just granted)
    3. Inter-marriages of above will be granted their children to become full citizenship.
  7. It is in the citizenship law (but the eligibility to be elected, stipulated by Election Act, “one to be elected “MUST be descendents of PURE BLOOD.)
  8. Recently the Myanmar Immigration department demanded the photocopies of four grand parents’ NRC or Citizenship Cards.
    1. Can the officials themselves will be able to show such photocopies of their grand parents?
    2. Use of Photocopy machines in Burma just started just about 15-20 years ago only. But the majority of people would not keep the copies unless ordered to do so.
    3. It was written on the NRC cards that NRC cards are to be surrendered to immigration department when a person is died.
    4. And they were officially collected by the authorities to issue the new ID cards.
  9. Citizenship Law 1982 stipulated that: If one out of Four Grand Parents is Citizen, then the person is entitled to the citizenship.  So, why need to show four grand parents’ NRC copies?
  10. Some Hindu Indians can prove their grand parents’ UCC (Union Citizen Certificate) which was issued around 1957 / 58 when they apply from foreigners’ status to Burmese Citizen Status. Immigration department insists the Muslims to show the same evidence when most of them are not the neutralized citizens but the citizens by birth for many generations. Some of the Muslims had migrated long before the British days and served with Burmese Kings’ Army as cannon troopers and in cavalry regiments since late 17 century. Their descendents were mixed with new influx of Indian Muslims came with British and thus the new breed children’s mothers were Burmese citizen by birth. New breed acted as Burmese and lived as if Burmese though a bit of Indian features are present. They are citizen by birth and not necessary to apply UCC during 1957/58 and they all were allowed to apply for National Registration Card directly and were granted accordingly. Those direct descendents from King’s Cannon Troops living in Bone Oh village near Sagaing township, Let Pan village near Kyauk Se township (Senior General Than Shwe’s home Town ), Muslim villages within Kant Ba Lu township ( General Maung Aye’s home town ) are not getting their citizenship cards yet. Their fore fathers were in their villages since 200 years ago and the officials demanded the proof who exactly came when. Could the SPDC Generals  trace back your ancestors settled down to your great grand pa’s home town 200 years ago ? )

What is so big deal about getting the Citizenship Card ?

Please refer to the “Report submitted by UNHCR in year 1996 on Burmese Human Right Topic”. There it recorded in detail about the difficulties one is going to face without such card in Burma.

1. The Children cannot apply to any professional universities such as Agricultural, veterinary, Medical, Dental, Pharmacy, Engineering, Marine Institutes and Maritime University e.t.c. and the child’s future is gone and well as his or her children.

2. One cannot be a trader or a merchant since he or she will not be able to travel without such cards, for a trade deal.

3. One cannot buy or own any property of land or even a car or anything.

4. One cannot apply any government-jobs or even could work with the private sector.

5. To sum up all the above, one without a Citizenship Card is “A LIVING DEAD PERSON.

Targeting to revoke the citizenships of the mixed-blooded Myanmar Citizens?

In January 2007, the minister announced at a press conference, that:

  1. They are transforming to “A Clean Government” and Application and processing of Citizenship Card will be granted within 28 days and if not it should be reported to them directly. He added that the application papers must be supported properly with the required documents.
  2. However, he continued that people who are holding citizen cards had not been checked properly as they were issued speedily in 1989, due to the forth coming election in 1990.
  3. Does he mean that we are holding “un-authentic cards”?
  4. Or our citizenships are on the verge of REVOKE?

Imagine the mental pain and social discrimination they suffered at this young age due to apartheid system.

    1. Religious Minorities suffered most due to compounding effect of being “Other Religion” as well as “Mixed Blooded”.
    2. Religious Minorities are not able to join any government departments as “Officers “.
    3. Religious Minorities can not become traders or merchants as it is difficult to travel without the citizenship card.
    4. Their children can not attend universities (some universities allowed the students to attend but they will get a “Blank Paper in lieu of the Degree Graduate Certificate” instead of the actual Degree Certificate on the stage at the convocation day. The university authorities used to tell them that they would issue the degree when the student shows his or her citizenship card.)

Comments: John said _

I agree the points wrote by Mr. Maung Tin in his article. There were significant number of students who got excellent marks in their high shool exam but their application for admission to university were turned down for mere doubt on their nationality. Stopping a brilliant student from his further study for just doubt on his nationality is killing th student slowly or snatching his future from him. We could imagine how those student lives would be whose ambitions and hopes were crushed out.

We can beg to current rulers of our country to have mercy on us. Our tear will dry but we will not be able to change these self centered people’s hearts. These selfish people have tasted the taste of power.

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One Response to “Unfair attitude of Myanmar Government on issuing National Registration Cards for Muslims”

  1. ” ကေလးေတြ မွာ အျပစ္မ႐ွိဘူး “ | Dr. Abdul Rahman Zafrudin @ Ko Ko Gyi Says:

    […] Unfair attute of Myanmar Government on issuing National Registration Cards for Muslims […]

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