Sunday, January 24, 2021 | ePaper

Myanmar must allow Rohingyas their right to vote

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MEDIA reports said the UN has asked the Myanmar government to ensure the voting right of Rohingya Muslims in the forthcoming November 8 election. In a statement the spokesman for UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva has expressed serious concerns over Myanmar's human rights violations and disfranchisement of Rohingyas and several other ethnic communities saying they must have right to participate in the election. The UN has urged Myanmar supreme leader Aung San Suu Kye to allow Rohingya Mustims to vote. They are stripped of their citizenship while some discriminatory citizenship laws are also debarring several other ethnic communities their citizenship rights and the right to vote.
Need no mention that about half dozen ethnic minorities are fighting Myanmar's Buddhist supremacy ideology and its racist policy for their existence; some from the beginning of the Burmese federation. This country is always at war with its own people and its policy to implement an ethnic cleansing policy led the recent expulsion of over 1 million Ruhingya Muslims killing their men, raping women, burning children and destroying their villages. They are living in refugee camps in Bangladesh and waiting for repatriation.     
What is highly discriminatory is that, election in 56 townships of Myanmar, including the  Rakhine State will not take place and the Myanmar Election Commission has no justification  whatsoever about it. It can't be an acceptable election locally and globally. Meanwhile internet shutdown has been imposed in eight townships in Rakhine and Chin states. People have been denied their right to receive and share any information. Besides the Rohingya Muslims, other communities such as Rakhine population, Kaman, Mro, Daingnet, Khamis and Chin communities are subject to rigorous discriminatory measures to keep them away from elections.
Growing hate speech against Muslims and public intolerance to the minorities is totally shattering the secular character of the state making it an extremist state. Political activists are being arrested to silent descent. We would say, Myanmar should change its racist policy to make it habitable for all. We want a peaceful democratic and pluralistic neighbor. We also urge Myanmar to take back Rohingya refugees immediately and get their right to vote. A nation can't continue in perpetual civil war to build a peaceful prosperous future.

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