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Myanmar government rebuffs calls for Rohingya citizenship

24 November 2015 7:07


Myanmar’s military-backed government has rejected calls for granting citizenship to the country’s most persecuted ethnic Rohingya Muslims.

Myanmar’s presidential spokesman and Information Minister Ye Htut said on Saturday that the administration would not grant the right of citizenship to the Rohingya Muslim community.

“Our government’s stance is that we wholly reject use of the term Rohingya,” the minister wrote on his Facebook page, rejecting calls that the Muslims be granted a path to citizenship.

The comments came in the wake of the United Nations’ Universal Periodic Review, which examines the human rights situation in all UN member states.

Myanmar’s government snubbed over half of the review’s 281 recommendations, including all those related to civil and political rights of the Southeast Asian country’s Rohingya Muslims.

Myanmarese officials categorize most of the 1.3 million Rohingyas as Bengalis, implying they are illegal migrants from neighboring Bangladesh.

Myanmar’s Rohingyas, currently living in the western state of Rakhine, have been subject to systematic repression by extremist Buddhists since the country’s independence in 1948.

The government of Myanmar has fallen short of protecting the rights of the marginalized group, forcing thousands of them to seek refuge in Thailand, India, Bangladesh and Indonesia, where they live in appalling conditions.

Rohingya Muslims have been recognized by the UN as one of the world’s most persecuted communities.

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