2014 Myanmar Census, First day. Latest updates on the experiences of Muslim families

31th March 2014

2014  Myanmar Census, First day

Myanmar Census started on Sunday 30th March and we have received the experiences from several sources on the ground.

This census has been widely criticized for stoking religious and ethics tensions especially in Rakhine state where members of a long-persecuted Muslim minority has been denied to identify themselves as Rohingya. Myanmar Islamic affair organization (MIAO) said that census taking in Rakhine state is not in order as the Muslim census respondents had been prohibited to identify themselves as they wish. But in accordance with the experience shared by MIAO, census taking in other part of the country from Muslim respondents arguably went well. They stated that the respondents can negotiate with the census takers for filling up the ethnicity.

Peace Cultivation Network (PCN) which is the census education and assistant committee also stated that census taking went well in most part of the country, however some Muslim families from different places had been forced to identify themselves as “others” along with the code number 914 which is used for “others-foreigner descendent” rather than to identify themselves as Kayin, Kachin etc which are officially considered as ethnic groups by the government. But the ethnic “Bamar” was allowed to fill in to the Muslims. Some others experienced that the census takers did not fill up the forms as the respondents wish.

M-Media has compiled the information which is about the places where census taking went well on the first day, 30th March 2014.


In some townships, Muslims are allowed to fill up as Rohingyas. Some Muslim families choose “Bamar”, code number 501, as their ethnicity purposely just for avoiding arguments with the enumerators.

In Auat Twin and Nyung Lay Pin of Pegu Division, Shan State “Wa” Special region, Chin State, Daww Pone, TharKeTa, Thingangyun, Tarmwe, Mingalar Tawn Nyunt, Eastern Pegu, Tight Kyi, Mawlamyine, Botathaung, Nyungdone, Pantanaw, Maymyot and Mandalay Division, Muslims were happy with census taking and mostly choose their race as Pathi, code 914.(Source: PCN )

Pan Ta Naw.

The enumerators filled up the code 914 for Muslims against the respondents’ wishes. But later they had been allowed to fill up as Pathi, code 914 as they complained to the administrative. (Source: PCN)

Myae Bone (Rakhine State)

In Myae Bone, census will start tomorrow. (Source: PCN) In Kyaut Ni Maw of Rakhine State, Muslims of Kaman ethnics were happy as they were able to fill up as Kaman, code 701.

Areas where enumerators attempted to force or to manipulate the desired ethnicities of Muslims

Rakhine Sate

According to RB News, census taking was postponed due to Rohingyas are detrained to fill as they wish despite government and local authorities forced and threatened them to identify as Bengali.


In Thandwe, Muslims were forced and threatened to fill up as code 914, Bengali only. The authorities told Muslims that they must not put Rohingyas at all and whoever put as Rohingyas will not take into counting according to social media page of Thandwe Muslims residents.

The Muslim families had been told not to fill up as Rohingyas in any condition and anyone who filled up as Rohingyas will not be taken into account by the local authority. (Source: Thandwe Muslim Residents’ social media page)


Muslim families from Kayin and Mon ethnic groups were not able to identify themselves as the ethnicity they belong to.


The enumerators did not ask anything in regard to the ethnicity and Muslim families were stated as code number 914, other-foreigned decedents.

In Outthetkae village, outskirt of Pathein the enumerators only asked for religion and did not to ask the race/ethnic to the Muslims.

Ze Ya Wati

Census administrative staffs were told during the training for census that not to accept when Muslims choose code 501 (Bamar) and to put the Muslims under “other foreigned descendants”.

Pyin Manar.

All the Muslims were filled up under code 914, others and had not been asked for which race/ethnic groups they belong to.


Kayin Muslims were filled up under code number 914, other rather than code number 301, Kayin.


A family complained that however they had chosen Pathi and later the enumerators erased their choice on the census form.

Kayin State

Muslim residents from Kawkarait  township reported that the enumerators erased what they have chosen, Pathi in census form, once they left from residents’ home.

M-Media had learned that anyone can call hotline number 1840 or 067-4307369, joint census assistant from Ministry of Immigration and UNFPA for complaining if there is any irregularity or wrong doing by the enumerators.

M-Media also appeal for sharing experiences whenever the flaws come out from 2014 census taking. Contact us at [email protected] or send personnel message to M-Media facebook page and you personnel identity will be kept in confidential.

Leave a Reply