‘No Entry’ on the road to Mandalay

Poppy McPherson writing in the Guardian, ‘… The upcoming poll on 8 November has been been touted as the freest and fairest in decades but, with religion an increasingly sensitive issue in Myanmar, many Muslims – from ordinary voters to experienced politicians – are coming up against barriers to participation … Although they make up at least 5% of the 51 million population, no Muslims will appear on ballots for either the ruling party or the opposition. The NLD [Ang San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy party] admits it struck them off following pressure from the increasingly powerful ultranationalist Buddhist movement. Meanwhile, more than one million members of the Rohingya Muslim minority, a persecuted ethnic group from Western Myanmar, have been rendered stateless and are ineligible to vote.

… Recently, Muslims have been told to register their race as Indian or Pakistani (irrespective of whether they have relatives there) in order to obtain national registration cards, a senior immigration official told the Guardian. The cards are needed to vote and travel abroad. “He or she is Muslim so we write ‘India’,” says U Thaung Zaw, the head of Mandalay’s immigration department.’ click here.