Myanmar authorities are allegedly compelling the minority Rohingya Muslims to fill identity cards , which will give them a foreigner status in their own country, a Thailand-based rights group said.
The country has been globally criticized for its crack down on the Rohingya, often termed as ‘ethnic cleansing’. The Myanmar government seems unaffected by the outrage, and is continuing to make Rohingyas accept National Verification Cards (NVCs).
Matthew Smith, Fortify Rights group’s chief executive officer said, “The Myanmar government is trying to destroy the Rohingya people through an administrative process that effectively strips them of basic rights.”
The government has been forcing Rohingya to accept the NVCs that strip them from their nationality, according to the group said.
“Myanmar authorities tortured Rohingya and imposed restrictions on Rohingya freedom of movement in the context of implementing the NVC process,” it further stated.
Myanmar began the ethnic cleansing of Rohingya Muslims in 2015, and has since denied them citizenship, calling them as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh. However, the minority traces its roots in Rakhine State in western Myanmar for centuries.
Rakhine State gained prominence after 730,000 Rohingya Muslims were forced to take shelter in Bangladesh in 2017, after a military crackdown retaliating the militant attacks.
Military spokesman Major General Tun Tun Nyi said that the accusations held no base, and that Rohingya Muslims were not being forced to accept the cards through torture.
Many Rohingyas are refraining to return unless their security is assured, and they are given citizen-status.
In 2018, a United Nation fact-finding operation claimed that the 2017 military crackdown in Rakhine State was planned with “genocidal intent”, and suggested to charge the military Commander-in-Chief, Min Aung Hlaing and five other generals for carrying out the “gravest crimes under international law”.
Though Myanmar dismissed the allegations, Min Aung Hlaing recently said a couple of security members may be culprit.