Monday, 25 May 2020

Maungdaw, Arakan State: The military junta officials from Maungdaw have begun collecting family photographs and checking household family lists again yesterday, according to an officer from Maungdaw.

Officials from Immigration and Burma Border Security Force (Nasaka) started taking group photos of families and verifying the household family lists from Blocks numbers 1 and 5 yesterday, the officer said.

“The officials are checking the family list for increases and decreases,” the officer added. “They also want to know about any family members who have gone to foreign countries in search of work.”

The authorities are collecting 3,000 kyat per family list, and each village is also responsible for providing officials with snacks and beverages—even in places where most of the villagers are so poor they have difficulty paying the 3,000 kyat fee, said a village authority member from Maungdaw.

“This program is only being implemented for members of the Rohingya community, and not for other communities such as the Rakhine in northern Arakan State.”

The officials demanded additional money from families with members not present at the time of the visits, with allegations that the missing family members had gone to foreign countries, said an elder from Maungdaw.

“We are not complaining about having to pay fees for those who have left to look for work in other countries, only about fees charged for people who had emergencies and left their village for medical treatment,” the elder added.

“The officials demand money to add newborn babies and to remove deceased people from the family lists. The officers are also removing the names of people who have left for foreign countries.”

Lt.Col. Aung Gyi, the Nasaka Director, explained to the village authorities at a meeting on December 29 that concerned officials would soon be checking household lists and taking photographs. The rules include: One household family list must have only one house; Without permission nobody has the right to be married; Trees cannot be cut down inside home compounds; and The reporting of births and deaths must obey the regional orders from concern authorities.

“Every year, the authorities are going to check the family list and photograph the Rohingya community in order to intimidate the population and collect money from them for many reasons,” said a politician from Maungdaw. “At least the processing is not done once every six months or three times per year.”