UN also asks Myanmar to ensure participation of Rohingyas in upcoming elections in November
Three years after the violence that forced about 800,000 Rohingyas to flee from their homes in Rakhine, the situation has deteriorated and little has been done to create viable conditions for their safe return, a senior official of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has said.
James Rodehaver, senior human rights officer based in the OHCHR South-East Asia regional office, also said that a new conflict has flared between Myanmar’s security forces and the Arakan Army, which has negatively impacted civilians throughout the country’s central and northern Rakhine state, including the members of the minority Rohingya community.
He also called on the authorities to demonstrate real commitment to the process of returns for displaced Rohingya and to take necessary measures to address the root causes that led to the crisis, including amending the 1982 Citizenship Law to restore their nationality and ensuring accountability for crimes committed against them.
The government of Myanmar should embrace upcoming national elections, scheduled for November, as an opportunity to take a new and fully inclusive democratic path, and to address the root of causes of abuses suffered by ethnic minorities, OHCHR, the top rights body of the United Nations has urged.
Rodehaver urged the Myanmar government to ensure meaningful participation of the Rohingyas in the upcoming elections in May.
“It is crucial if the vote in November is to be inclusive, free, and fair that Myanmar respects the right of all its people to participate fully and equally in the electoral processes and in all aspects of public life,” he added.
“The Government should take immediate steps to ensure that the Rohingya can meaningfully participate in the forthcoming election, both as candidates and as voters,” said Rodehaver.
The November elections also offer the chance to restore political rights to the Rohingya, who were able to participate in all votes until 2010.
However, they were excluded from the 2015 ballot, and at least four Rohingya politicians who sought to stand in the upcoming vote have had their applications rejected. This continuing process of disenfranchisement effectively prevents Rohingya from enjoying their fundamental rights.