Rangoon, Burma: “we will not register it, if a household wants to identify themselves as Rohingya,” said U Ye Htut, the president spokesperson told the reporters in a gathering – the president has met with representatives from every political party in Burma- at the Rangoon Divisional Parliament.
The government used the term for Rohingya as Bengali and also people are looking them as illegal immigrants from neighboring, Bangladesh, U Ye Htut said.
The Rakhine from Arakan State vowed to boycott the census over fears it could lead to official recognition for the Rohingya and raising fears it could lead to political rights for the group.
“The government had agreed with UN and it donors, the Government has made a commitment that everyone who is in the country will be counted in the census, and all respondents will have the option to self-identify their ethnicity. This commitment cannot be honored selectively in the face of intimidation or threats of violence,” according to UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund press release dated March 28.
As per agreement and Population and Housing Census Law, U Ye Htut violated both two and he will be the person who decided the future of an community who are living since long which evidenced in the past Burmese history and document, said Halim, a Human Rights Watchdog from Maungdaw.
But, the Burmese government and Rakhine refused the evidences and denying the Rohingya as an ethnic of Arakan State, Burma, Halim added.
Foreign aid workers fled the restive western state of Arakan State on March 27-28 after Buddhist mobs attacked their offices as tensions escalated in the run up to the census which most the Rohingya believed it was a master plan of the government and Rakhine community to drive out the INGOs and NGO, UN staff before census will collect in the Arakan State, said Hamid, a school teacher from the Sittwe.
The government and Rakhine community removed the eyewitness of their ill-treatment towards Rohingya during census, Hamid said.
Malteser’s country coordinator, Johannes Kaltenbach, told in an interview that the event was pre-planned to remove staffs of INGOs and NGO from Arakan State, as Myanmar’s first census since 1983, which is set to begin on Sunday (March 29 midnight) to April 10 – for 12 days, is backed by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and is aimed at plugging an information deficit in the former junta-run country.
The Staffs from NGOs will not able to eyewitness like before the event of DU Chee Ya Tan during the period of census, how the government and its partners will treat the Rohingya who are living in this land since long, said another NGO staff.
But, State government officials also refusing to register and count the term Rohingya in the census process and willing to use the term Bengali, for them, said local MP Aung Mya Kyaw.
Similarly, U Zaw Aye Maung, the Rakhine ethnic minister from Yangon Region said, “In Myarnmar, there was no Rohingya, only Bengali. If they did not demand, it will be very easy for us to register Bengali in the process of forthcoming census.
“This house is protesting against the census. Do not register,” when you rounded the town of Sittew, you will see this poster all the Rakhine’s household.