Myanmar starts a plan to remove citizenship status of officially recognised ethnic Muslim group

7th, December 2017

– Ethnic Kaman Muslims in Rakhine state, an officially recognised ethnic group of Myanmar, are suffering economic blockade by local authorities for refusing immigration department’s new plan which is expected to be an initial step to gradually rendering them stateless.

Kaman Muslims from Kyauknimaw Village, Ramree Township, Rakhine State are being forced by local authorities to accept National Verification Card (NVC).

An instruction issued by chief minister of Rakhine State on November 3 states that ethnic Kaman people with no National Registration Card (NRC) are prohibited to go fishing until they agree to involve in NVC plan, local media RiA reprted.

NVC, introduced at the time of U Thein Sein government, is designed for Rohingya Muslim who have been denied citizenship by Myanmar government and assumed to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. NVC does not have any guarantee of basic rights such as freedom of movement.

Although government claiming NVC is first step to be a citizen of Myanmar, details of verification process has not been seen since.

Unlike Rohingya Muslims – the most persecuted minority in the world – Kaman is one of the 135 national races officially recognised by Myanmar government. According to 1982 citizenship law – which defined three different types of citizenship – people belong to national races are recognised full citizen of the country without having any additional verification process.

In a recent meeting with Muslim leaders, immigration officials have confirmed descendants of citizens, associated citizens and neutralized citizens or those who have some kind of identification papers issued by government do not need to be involved in NVC pr0cess.

NVC legally does not have any connection with the nationality status of officially recognized national races.




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