08 Jan Rakhine minister warns about UN interference in ‘Rohingya’ affairs

Written by Kay Zue Published in Rohingya Issues Read 6239 times
A Rohingya woman carries a water pot at Bawdupah's Internally Displaced People (IDP) camp on the outskirts of Sittwe on May 18, 2013. AFP PHOTO / Soe Than WIN
A Rohingya woman carries a water pot at Bawdupah internally displaced people's camp on the outskirts of Sittwe, Rakhine State on May 18, 2013. Photo: Soe Than Win/AFP

The Rakhine State government will file a complaint with the Myanmar government if the United Nations intervenes and calls for citizenship for Rohingyas in western Myanmar, according to the state minister in a statement issued on January 7.

The statement from the Rakhine State government was issued on the day that Ms Yanghee Lee, UN Special Rapporteur for human rights in Myanmar, arrived on her second visit to Myanmar.

During her visit, she plans to discuss the issue of citizenship for Muslim Rohingya, people the Myanmar government labels as illegal Bengali immigrants.

One Rakhine State minister, who preferred to remain anonymous, said the State government appreciated the humanitarian assistance provided by the UN regional development programmes. “But they need to respect the law of our country. Donations should not result in pressure. The President and chief minister of Rakhine State have officially mentioned this,” he said.

The Rakhine State government has officially announced that they will only accept citizenship applications from those who identify as Bengali, in accordance with the 1982 Citizenship Law, rejecting those who refer to themselves as Rohingya.

Ms Lee submitted a report on the findings of her first visit to Myanmar at the Third Committee meeting of 69th session of UN General Assembly on October 28 last year. She detailed human rights abuses including mention of concern over the Rohingya.

According to the Rakhine State chief minister, “Intervention of international organizations such as the UN is tantamount to a breach of diplomatic rules, [and causes] unrest and [and is a case of] instigation.”

U Win Tin, an advocate for Bengali affairs in Sittwe, said: “Over two years, we [Bengalis] have been faced with restrictions, including education for our children. This is the first priority for us, followed by citizenship.”

Some sources claim Rakhine people will stage a protest against Ms Lee when she visits the region.

Rakhine activist Daw Nyo Aye said: “The actions and reports of UN delegates have proved that they are helping Rohingya, covering [this mission] with humanitarian assistance for Myanmar. Our protest is not personal, but it is against the stance of the UN on Rakhine people.”

Last modified on Thursday, 08 January 2015 17:50