Saturday, 21 October 2017

Maungdaw, Arakan State: The authority sent more security forces- Hluntin, police and Army- with enumerators and supervisors to the Rohingya villages to show the power of authority and threaten the Rohingya to use race in the census forms as Bengali today, said Halim, a Human Rights Watchdog from Maungdaw.

Whenever the census collecting group –enumerators and supervisors – with them more than 8 security forces went to a Rohingya house, where the Rohingya family saw the situation will afraid and follow their the plan to say Bengali. But, the authority received from the Rohingya family, will join the census process when Rohingya will write in Race column and number 914 together with Islam as a religious, Halim more said.

Today, morning, 8 security forces and 4 census officers came to our home to ask to join the census, but, I said I need Rohingya as race with code number 914 and Islam as religious, then they left from my home, said Sheyna Bebe from Shwezarr Village.

Similarly, the census data processing group went to the Ward number 1, under Maungdaw municipal area, the Rohingya families refused to join the census process without Rohingya and code number 914 with Islam race, an elder from Ward number 1.

“You call us so many names – Illegal migrant, Bengali and Kala- and so on, now we are asking you, if you accept Rohingya , we will welcome you and join the census  process, said Azara Be Be from Ward number 1, while the census processing group said they will process the census when you said Bengali.

On the other hand, the census processing groups with tight security forces went to They Chaung ( Balu Kali), Phurwetchaung (Faul Khali) and Wa Pyin where they visited 13 households,10 households and 5 households. All the Rohingya households asked to use Rohingya as a race and the groups returned back from the villages, said Hashim, a trader from the Maungdaw.

In Buthidaung, the security forces behaved like racketeer – kicking the doors, removing number plates, used bad ward- when the villagers of Thapaytaung, Gudaungpin refused to join the census, said Anwer from the village.

The authority and Rakhine community are trying to make problem which may point out , they are not able to process census in these areas –Maungdaw, Buthidaung, Rathidaung , Akyab, Mrohaung, Kyacktaw and etc. said a politician from Maungdaw. 

The United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) released a press statement today on government’s decision which mention not allowing who wish to self-identify their ethnicity as Rohingya.

In its agreement with the United Nations on the 2014 census, the Government made a commitment to conduct the exercise in accordance with international census standards and human rights principles. It explicitly agreed with the condition that each person would be able to declare what ethnicity they belong to, including those who wish to record their identity as of mixed ethnicity. Those not identifying with one of the listed ethnic categories would be able to declare their ethnicity and have their response recorded by the enumerator, statement said.

Just before the start of the census, however, senior officials announced that people who wish to define their ethnicity as Rohingya will not be able to process in the census, the statement said.