January 31, 2019

Burma Campaign UK today described the UN Special Envoy’s support for the National Verification Card (NVC) process being imposed on Rohingya in Burma as “appalling” and urged her to reconsider her position on the process.

In a statement on January 29th following her recent visit to Burma, the UN Special Envoy, Christine Schraner Burgener, issued a statement that endorsed the sham NVC process, stating:

“In light of recent assurances that the new NVC cards will no longer contain mentions of religion or ethnicity, she also encouraged the internally displaced people she met to consider applying for registration, so that they can move around within the country. The Special Envoy was satisfied to hear the Rakhine State Minister explain in her presence to the internally displaced persons that the “NVC cards are not for foreigners, but for people residing in Myanmar. It is a first step towards citizenship. It applies to the whole country, even in the eastern part close to the Myanmar-Thai border, not just to Rakhine,” the Minister said.”

The UN Special Envoy appears to have backed down to the racist demands of the Burmese government not to call Rohingya people Rohingya, but it is reasonable to assume that the internally displaced people referred to in the statement are Rohingya.

“Either the UN envoy has been duped by the government of Burma or mistakenly believes that being obsequious in the face of genocide will buy her influence,” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “There is no need and no time left for the NVC process.  It is nothing more than a delaying tactic to avoid giving citizenship to the Rohingya. With elections coming up in Burma next year, the next few months may be the best and only chance of changing the Citizenship Law and starting to address the root causes of this crisis. Of course the UN envoy needs to build a working relationship with the government, but not at any price.”

The denial of citizenship to the Rohingya people is one of the foundation stones which underpins prejudice and violence against the Rohingya. Their right of citizenship is one of the top demands of Rohingya, including a key condition for refugees before returning to Burma.

The full UN envoy statement is available here: http://yangon.sites.unicnetwork.org/2019/01/30/on-behalf-of-the-office-of-the-secretary-generals-special-envoy-on-myanmar/

A Burma Campaign UK briefing paper, ‘Now or never – Is time running out for Rohingya to get citizenship’ is available here: https://burmacampaign.org.uk/now-or-never-is-time-running-out-for-rohingya-to-get-citizenship/





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