Date
20 August 2017
Buddhist monks lead a protest in Myanmar to press for the cancellation of temporary voting rights for Rohingya Muslims. Photo: Reuters
Buddhist monks lead a protest in Myanmar to press for the cancellation of temporary voting rights for Rohingya Muslims. Photo: Reuters

Myanmar withdraws Rohingya voting rights

Myanmar has canceled temporary voting rights for Rohingya Muslims after a wave of protests.

The announcement came just hours after demonstrations in Yangon by residents protesting what they see as the integration of non-citizens into the country, BBC News reported Thursday.

Prime Minister Thein Sein had persuaded parliament to grant “white cards” to Rohingya Muslims to enable them to vote.

More than one million Rohingya live in Myanmar but they are not regarded as citizens by the government.

“White card holders are not citizens and those who are non-citizens don’t have the right to vote in other countries,” said Shin Thumana, a Buddhist monk who took part in the protest.

“This is just a ploy by politicians to win votes.”

Rohingya lawmaker Shwe Maung said voting rights had only become an issue after the violence in 2012.

That year, clashes between Muslims and Buddhists left more than 200 dead.

The white cards were introduced in 2010 by the former military junta, sparking street protests by hundreds of Buddhists who are at the forefront of protests against Muslims.

In December, the United Nations passed a resolution urging Myanmar to give access to citizenship for the Rohingya, many of whom are classed as stateless.

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CG/RA

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