asia - pacific

UN panel calls for Myanmar citizenship for Rohingya

Resolution, which was adopted by consensus, to be put to vote again at plenary session of 193-member General Assembly in January

Mustafa Çağlayan  | 19.11.2015
UN panel calls for Myanmar citizenship for Rohingya

New York

NEW YORK

The U.N. General Assembly committee dealing with human rights has criticized Myanmar for its treatment of Rohingya Muslims and urged the Southeast Asian country to give them equal access to citizenship.

In a non-binding draft resolution, the Third Committee expressed "serious concern about the situation of the Rohingya in Rakhine State and of other minorities subject to marginalization and instances of human rights violations and abuses."

Wednesday's resolution, co-sponsored by more than 40 countries -- including the U.S. and European nations -- called on Myanmar "to ensure equal access to full citizenship and related rights, including civil and political rights, for all stateless persons."

Under a 1982 law, Myanmar officially recognizes 135 ethnic groups, but not the Rohingya. 

The linguistically and ethnically distinct ethnic group have faced widespread persecution for decades, but their situation has become ever more perilous since sectarian violence erupted in 2012.

Since then, around 140,000 Rohingya have been unable to return to their villages, and they have been confined to a swathe of land in Rakhine in squalid displacement camps where they are often denied basic healthcare.

The U.N. panel also criticized the country for barring dozens of Muslim candidates from running in the Nov. 8 election.

It urged the country's authorities "to address political disenfranchisement and discriminatory disqualification of candidates, including with respect to members of the Rohingya community and persons belonging to religious and ethnic minorities."

Many Muslims were not allowed to stand in the election on dubious citizenship grounds, and hundreds of thousands of Rohingya were also unable to vote because the government bowed to calls from ultra-nationalists to exclude them.

The resolution, which was adopted by consensus, will be put to vote again at a plenary session of the 193-member General Assembly in January.

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