Myanmar Revokes Rohingya Muslims’ Right to Vote
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Myanmar’s government revoked Rohingya Muslims’ right to vote in an upcoming constitutional referendum following a protest by extremist Buddhists.
President Thein Sein said on Wednesday that the temporary identification cards issued for the Rohingya minority will become invalid at the end of March.
The move is against an earlier decision that would have allowed card holders to take part in the elections, Press TV reported.
The president’s latest decision came just hours after a group of people, led by scores of Buddhist monks, demonstrated in Naypyidaw, the capital, against allowing the Rohingyas to participate in the vote.
Myanmar’s more than one million Rohingya Muslims are not recognized as citizens by the government.
In recent years, thousands of Rohingya Muslims have been displaced by violence. Hundreds of Rohingyas are also believed to have been killed in attacks by extremist Buddhists.
Many Rohingya Muslims, described by the UN as one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, are confined to squalid refugee camps in the western state of Rakhine.
In January, the UN expressed concern about a set of controversial laws proposed by Sein, warning that the legislation could intensify sectarian tensions in the country. The draft legislation, including curbs on interfaith marriage, religious conversion and birth rates, is seen as particularly discriminatory against women and minorities.
In November 2014, the UN General Assembly’s Human Rights Committee adopted a non-binding resolution by consensus to pressure Myanmar to change its approach toward the Rohingya Muslims.