Naypyidaw | WTNS | August 13:Myanmar has barred a Rohingya Muslim from running in the upcoming election, in an apparent indication of the persecution against the minority.
Rohingya Muslims have been described as the world’s most persecuted community by the United Nations.
Thousands of Rohingya Muslims were killed, injured, arbitrarily arrested, or raped by Myanmar soldiers and Buddhist mobs mainly between November 2016 and August 2017 in what the UN has said was genocide. Some 800,000 other Rohingya survived only by fleeing to Bangladesh, where they live in cramped camps.
Another 600,000 Rohingya Muslims still remain in Myanmar under apartheid-like conditions, confined to camps and villages and denied access to healthcare and education.
The Rohingya are denied citizenship in Myanmar and considered illegal immigrants and will have no vote, despite their ancestral roots dating back centuries.
The advocacy group Fortify Rights said three Rohingya-led parties had hoped to field at least a dozen candidates in the next general election, which is slated for November 8.
But Abdul Rasheed, a member of the Democracy and Human Rights Party, said on Wednesday that the district election commission in Rakhine state’s capital, Sittwe, had rejected his candidacy a day earlier over allegation his parents were not Myanmar citizens when he was born.
Rasheed stressed that he had proof his parents and grandparents were granted citizenship in 1957, four years before his birth.
“This is not in line with the law,” he told AFP, adding, “The Rohingya are being degraded so we cannot compete.”
Rasheed noted that his previous attempt to stand in the country’s 2015 election was also thwarted.
But he said that he he would appeal Tuesday’s decision.
“This rejection is discriminatory and not unrelated to the ongoing genocide of Rohingya,” said Matthew Smith from Fortify Rights.
“The government of Myanmar must end its mass disenfranchisement of Rohingya,” he added.
Last January, the International Court of Justice ordered Myanmar to do everything in its power to prevent the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine.