What will happen to citizenship verification amid the conflict?


Immigration officials preparing the National Verification Card at the Ngakhura processing camp for Rohingya Muslims in Maungdaw district, Myanmar's Rakhine state near the Bangladesh border. Photo: Ye Aung Thu/AFP

In every conflict area, local people always suffer and this phenomenon is also seen in Maungdaw area, Rakhine State too.

They are facing problems of fleeing from their homes, restrictions on their free movement in the area, non-completion of the national verification process etc. in Rakhine State.

Tun Shein from Ngan Chaung village, Maungdaw District said that he had not yet got National Registration Certificates (NRC) though both of his parents lived in Myanmar and are holders of NRCs.

20-year old Tun Shein said, “We cannot get the right to free movement. We must hold the National Verification Card (NVC) though my parents had citizenship card or NRC. So I don’t need to hold this NVC. Under the citizenship law, I am entitled to citizenship by birth after applying for it. So I don’t hold NVC but I can’t do anything without this NVC. I cannot go here and there without this card.”

Tun Shein passed matriculation exam with Biology distinction but he cannot get admission to university.

The government said that the people in the area must hold an ID or documents either NVC or other for free movement in Rakhine State. Immigration and Population Department Director Ko Ko Thaw said that if a person had not had a citizenship document, he/she must hold NVC first for verification process in accordance with the law.

Immigration and Population Department Director Ko Ko Thaw said, “Some of the persons who reached other side of the (border) river might have NRCs. If they have these NRCs which have already been issued to them when they were here, they do not need to hold NVC as NRC is the citizenship document. Those who don’t have any document will be issued NVC. This is some sort of a certificate of identity for them.”

Tun Shein who passed matriculation exam said that his ambition was to get admission in engineering after getting NRC. In Rakhine State, there are many cases of being neglected in getting citizenship rights, facing difficulties in getting admissions for further study in university education.

A Myanmar citizen, Thinn Nuu Swe, gave her opinion regarding the controversial citizenship verification process, “We see these Muslims as human beings if they did not do any terrorist acts and did not get involved in terrorist attacks. We have a friendly relationship with them and we live amicably with them if these people were born and brought up in Myanmar. We help each other and render our helping hand to them unless they are terrorists and fighting each other. I wish they will get right to free movement, right to education and I want to see they can live here peacefully without any hassles.”

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