On June 3, Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG) – a shadow government formed by civilian lawmakers deposed by the military in its 1 February coup – released a historic position paper on the country’s Rohingya community. The three-page document formally lays down a set of pledges and positions that mark a clear break from the past in the relationship between the Myanmar state and the stateless Rohingya Muslim community.
Welcomed by many as a progressive declaration, it sets out with the premise that “everyone in the Union has full enjoyment of fundamental human rights” and that the NUG will “not tolerate any form of discrimination.” It asserts that “all ethnic groups who are native to the Union have full enjoyment of individual rights held by individual people and collective rights held by ethnic groups.”
Although the language is somewhat non-specific, this implies an intent to classify the Rohingya as a legitimate ethnic group of Myanmar and include it in the list of “national races” (taingyintha). Currently, there are 135 officially-recognized “national races,” and including the Rohingya among their number would mean granting them full citizenship rights and making them full members of Myanmar’s national community.
However, there is an acute lack of clarity on whether the shadow government really seeks to recognize the Rohingya as an ethnic group. In a press conference on June 5, the NUG’s Minister of Human Rights Aung Myo Min clarified that this point would be “discussed later.”
Jun 17, 2021Registering refugees is critical to ensuring they each have access to the assistance and protection they need. It allows for the early identification of those with specific needs or vulnerabilities and their referral to the appropriate services and support. Registration also helps keep families together or reunite them if they have been separated. This is […]