Muslim Community Scrutinized over Citizenship Status

Sittwe: According to reports from internal media a recently formed a team from the Burmese authority will start its plan to scrutinize individual families in the Muslim community from Pauk Taw township in Arakan today to decide whether they deserve citizenship or not.

Burmese high officials have formed the team of 18 members from several government departments to carry out the program effectively in line with the 1982 citizenship law.

According to sources, some officials from the immigration department, Nasaka (border security force), army, police, township and village level administrations are included in the team.

The team reportedly leaves today for Pauk Taw Township, 20 miles east of Arakan state capital Sittwe, to carry out the program at all Muslim villages. In Pauk Taw Township where there are five Muslim villages that are Sindet Maw, Kyi Ni Byin, Nga Wet Chaung, Sit Kae Byint and Ngat Chaung.

The program will be carried out in other Muslim areas throughout Arakan state one after one, said a
report quoting U Win Myint the spokesperson of the Arakan state government. He said that the program must be carried out fairly and independently in accordance with the 1982 citizenship law.

Many NGOs and international human rights activists have called for a repeal of the 1982 citizenship law in order to recognize Muslims in Arakan state as Burmese citizens.

The INGOs and activists say the 1982 law, which was issued during the reign of former dictator Gen. Ne Win, is not compatible with the Universal Declaration of Human Rights nor with Burma’s legal obligations under international treaties.