Myanmar shadow govt promises Rohingya citizenship, repatriation

6 June, 2021 12:00 AM printer

DHAKA: Members of the Rohingya community expressed a cautious response to a declaration of Policy Position on the Rohingya in Rakhine State by the National Unity Government (NUG), an anti-coup shadow government in Myanmar, report agencies.

The exile government that was formed in April, issued the policy on Thursday for the first time. It proclaims to restore citizenship rights to Rohingya, starting long-stalled repatriation of the persecuted people and repealing a controversial 1982 Citizenship Law and deceptive National Verification Cards system.

Global rights defenders hailed the declaration and recommended it include Rohingya representatives in anti-coup and pro-democratic processes.

The Rohingya, however, are wary about the NUG policy as they recalled their past plights and deprivation under the very same leaders when they held power with the blessings of the Tatmadaw, or Myanmar military.

At a refugee camp in Bangladesh, Mayyu Khan warned that the Rohingya is always in doubt about if a new move is “a ploy or a plan.” Khan said, “We are scared of it.” It being the shadow government formed by deposed lawmakers from the National League for Democracy (NLD) party of detained State Counsellor and de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

“When we are given back our citizenship and repatriated properly, our greatest desire will be fulfilled,” he said.

Despite the bitter experiences of the past, the Rohingya always worked positively, he said.

“In fact, the NUG government is a new version of NLD. They have never publicly tried to address the Rohingya issue, but the Rohingyas have fully supported them and participated in their works.”

Prize-winning Rohingya rights defender Razia Sultana said, “We paid too much and when we asked for it, most of them [NUG leaders] were silent and with the course of time they are under the same situation.”

She did, however, welcome the new policy as a positive. “Whatever, whoever except the Tatmadaw, we are ready to hold hands with our country people for peace.”

Underlining the core desire of Rohingya, she added that the community has “no more expectation, just want to be part of Burma [Myanmar].”

Dr. Ambia Perveen, chair of the European Rohingya Council said the declaration is “most positive” but “only action will confirm or prove their words.”

“We are repeatedly highlighting our demands of returning of the Rohingya with rights, safety and dignity to their places of origin and taking all necessary measures in order to bring all perpetrators of genocide to justice,” she said.

To restore Rohingya confidence in the shadow government, she recommended that the “NUG needs to have a Rohingya representative on their team and especially they need to involve the voices of refugees.”