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Monday, 29 December 2014

Myanmar must grant citizenship to Rohingya Muslims: UN

The United Nations (UN) has called on Myanmar to provide “full citizenship” to its Rohingya Muslim minority and grant it the same rights as those of other people in the country.

The UN General Assembly adopted by consensus a non-binding resolution on Monday urging Myanmar to grant the Muslim minority citizenship rights.

The resolution expressed the 193-member body’s “serious concern” about the Myanmar government’s treatment of the Rohingyas, saying the international community is united in seeking change in Naypyidaw’s attitude toward minorities.

The General Assembly urged Myanmar to ensure that the Rohingya Muslims have equal access to services, including health and education, and to address the main causes of violence and discrimination against them.

It also called on the government to ensure that Rohingyas are allowed to safely return to their communities, “and to promote peaceful coexistence.”

It said the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights should open an office in Myanmar “without delay.”

The UN General Assembly’s Human Rights Committee had adopted a non-binding resolution on November 21 to pressure the Southeast Asian country to change its approach toward the Rohingya Muslims.

Under Myanmar’s national law, 1.3 million Rohingyas are denied citizenship and are considered stateless. Myanmar officials want to categorize them as Bengalis, implying they are illegal migrants from neighboring Bangladesh. Those who reject the identity would likely be detained or deported.

Reports say hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas in Myanmar are suffering from a severe shortage of food and drinking water. Humanitarian aid deliveries have slowed down in Rakhine State, where many Rohingyas live, due to an escalation of violence against them.

The UN recognizes Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslims as one of the world’s most persecuted communities. They have faced torture, neglect, and repression since Myanmar’s independence in 1948.

Source: SF/HJL -

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