There are about 600,000 Rohingyas in Rakhine state and over one million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh’s camps. Myanmar held the general election on November 8, 2020. But Rohingya minority was denied the right of voting and the right to stand for the election.
Mg Ni a resident of Sittwe told RK news concerning the election, “We couldn’t vote because the government has denied our citizenship. We were able to vote under the previous governments till 2010, but we couldn’t vote during the last two general elections. So, we felt excluded from Myanmar society. However, we want it back because it’s our fundamental right.”
“Before the 2015 election, Myanmar was under the total control of the military, however, the Rohingya community was able to vote and four Rohingya were elected as members of parliament.” another Rohingya stated.
During this 2020 general election the Union Election Commission (UEC)
rejected all the six Rohingya candidates from participating in the election under the pretext of their parent’s citizenship issue. Amidst the rejected candidates were U Kyaw Min who was an elected MP in 1990 elections.
Myanmar refuses to recognize the Rohingya and views them as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh. “We grew up and studied here. How can we be considered as illegal immigrants when we have been here for generations?” told Mg Naing Winn who was a university student before 2012 violence in Rakhine state.
Many Rohingyas think there is no political will and hope that the new government of NLD that would be formed early next year will show a change of heart and will embrace the Rohingyas as their fellow citizens.