Wed Dec 13 2017, 8:37:04 +03

Myanmar poll ban for Muslims undermining human rights

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(Yangon, AlummahWorld-Dhu-AlHijjah 7, 1436, September 21, 2015) Myanmar is deliberately and systematically blocking Muslims communities from running or voting in country`s general election and severely violating basic human rights of minorities, Muslim community in long time military ruled nation accused while independent reports suggesting irregularities in upcoming election process.

General elections will be held in Myanmar on 8 November 2015. It will see voting take place in all constituencies, excluding seats appointed by the Military, in order to appoint Members of Assembly to seats in the House of Nationalities, the upper house, House of Representatives, the lower house of the Assembly of the Union, and State and Region Hluttaws.

Myanmar’s Union Election Commission (UEC) rejected all but one candidate from an Islamic party based on citizenship requirements before general elections in November in a move that could lead to the party’s disbandment, the organization’s political leader reportedly said.

The election commission rejected the applications of 17 of 18 candidates who had filed to run for parliamentary seats as members of the Democracy and Human Rights Party (DHRP), Kyaw Min (a) Mahmood Shomshul Anwarul Haque, the party’s chairman, told RFA’s Myanmar Service.

Eleven of the rejected candidates are from Rakhine state, and the six others are from the Yangon division, he said, leaving only one party candidate to stand in the elections.


Not only ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party led by Htay Oo but also the opposition National League for Democracy party
led by Aung San Suu Kyi is almost silent on the issue of Muslims candidate rejected by election authorities, preventing them to take part in the upcoming election.

So far, the UEC commission has rejected nearly 50 candidates in total—24 candidates from Rakhine state, including the ones from the DHRP, and 25 from the Yangon division.

The candidates rejected in Rakhine state’s Maungdaw district, where the majority of people are Muslim Rohingya, were disqualified based on two sections of the election law — section 8(e) which bars people from running for office if their parents were not Myanmar citizens at the time of their birth, and section 10(e) which requires candidates to have lived in the country for the past consecutive 10 years, according to local media reports.

All the candidates from Rakhine state are Rohingya, whom the Myanmar government views as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh and refers to them as “Bengalis,” although many have lived there for generations.

Number of Asian countries deeply rooted with Buddhism such as China, Thailand, Japan and S. Korea refrain to openly condemn massacre od Rohingya Muslim minority in Myanmar or recent rejection of Muslim candidates by the country`s election commission.

US State Department criticized Myanmar`s election commission by saying that the disqualification of almost 100 candidates - including many Muslims - from Myanmar’s upcoming election could undermine confidence in the poll among the country’s electorate and the international community.

Spokesman John Kirby cited reports saying that almost every Muslim who had applied to run in the Nov. 8 poll has been disqualified on citizenship grounds, saying “the relevant authorities have yet to provide the specific reasons for which they did not meet these criteria”.

The ballot is being billed as the freest for decades despite criticism that Muslims in the Buddhist-majority country are being excluded.
Despite its democratic credentials, the opposition party failed to field a single Muslim candidate for this year’s poll, prompting accusations from its own Muslim members that it is pandering to Buddhist extremists.

Myanmar is a Buddhist majority nation where Muslim minority mostly consists of the Rohingya people and the descendants of Muslim immigrants from India, Bangldadesh and China (the ancestors of Chinese Muslims in Myanmar came from the Yunnan province), as well as descendants of earlier Arab settlers and the recognised Kamein minority.

According to Human Rights Watch the Burmese government has denied citizenship to any Rohingya persons who cannot prove their ancestors settled in the country before 1823, the beginning of British occupation of what is now Arakan State.