Myanmar’s government has drafted a plan that will give about a million members of the persecuted Rohingya Muslim ethnic minority a bleak choice: accept ethnic reclassification and the prospect of citizenship, or be detained.
Most of Myanmar’s 1.1 million Rohingya live in apartheid-like conditions in western Rakhine, where deadly clashes with ethnic Rakhine Buddhists in 2012 displaced 140,000 people, mostly Rohingya.
The plan, shared with Reuters by sources who have received copies of the draft, proposes Rakhine authorities “construct temporary camps in required numbers for those who refuse to be registered and those without adequate documents”.
Many Rohingya lost documents in the widespread violence, or have previously refused to register as “Bengalis”, as required by the government under the new plan, because they say the term implies they are illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.
Despite winning praise for political and economic reform introduced since military rule ended in March 2011, Myanmar has come under international pressure over its treatment of the Rohingya.
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