International Acceptance of Rohingya Disenfranchisement Encourages Further Abuses

For Immediate Release 6th November 2020

Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) is concerned that the lack of international condemnation of the disenfranchisement of the Rohingya in Sunday’s election will encourage further human rights violations against the Rohingya people.

Not only has the international community been largely silent about the fact that Rohingya have been disenfranchised from the election, but international governments and organisations, including the European Union, have even been assisting the government of Burma and the government appointed Union Election Commission (UEC) in the holding of this discriminatory election.

“The disenfranchisement of the Rohingya in this election is another part of the genocide against us, and it’s being done with international assistance instead of condemnation,” said Tun Khin, President of the Burmese Rohingya Organisations UK. “The message the international community is sending to the government of Burma is that they can commit human rights violations against the Rohingya and not just get away with it, they will even still get international support. This encourages the government to carry on denying our rights and discriminating against us.”

State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi decided to keep in place the ban on Rohingya voting in the election, and the UEC, appointed by her government, has continued the policy of barring Rohingya parties and candidates from standing in the election. Those engaged in anti-Rohingya and anti-Muslim hate speech inciting hatred and violence face no legal consequences.

“It is clear that Myanmar’s elections will be unfree, unfair and un-democratic”, Tun Khin said. “The disenfranchisement of the Rohingya is the most extreme example, but other ethnic and religion groups are also facing mass disenfranchisement. By supporting this election, the international community seem to be saying ethnic rights don’t matter. As long as the situation improves for the mainly Buddhist Bamar majority, that is good enough for them.”

Barring Rohingya from voting in the election is also a violation of the provisional measures ordered by the International Court of Justice. The denial of our identity and rights, including the right to vote, is part of the genocide against the Rohingya people.

“If the response of the international community to this election is to welcome it, and only add a small caveat at the end of a statement expressing disappointment that Rohingya were excluded, that is a green light to Aung San Suu Kyi to keep discriminating against us,” said Tun Khin. “The international community must state clearly that disenfranchisement of the Rohingya and other minorities from the election is completely unacceptable and that they will provide no support to future elections as long as this discrimination continues.”

For more information, please contact Tun Khin on +44(0)7888714866


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