Burma Times:By Ibrahim Shah, 02 August 2015
UN Security Council’s immediate forced intervention in Burma is very crucial to prevent the first-ever state-sanctioned Rohingya disenfranchisement and the ongoing genocide against Rohingya led by President Thein Sein
United Nations Department of Political Affairs, ASEAN Parliamentarians for Human Rights[APHR], Organization of American States[OAS], the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, the European Union, the Commonwealth Secretariat, the Council of Europe and the African Union, Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights and all the rest international governmental organizations are morally obliged to forced intervene to ensuring the voting rights of Rohingya native people from western part of Burma in the upcoming November General election of Burma while the Rohingya people initially face state-sanctioned disenfranchisement in this ruling term of President Thein Sein.
The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948, states in article 21—
– everyone has the right to take part in the government of his/her country, directly or through freely chosen representatives
– everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his country;the will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government
– this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot or by equivalent free voting procedures.
The role that periodic, free elections play in ensuring respect for political rights also is enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights, the Charter of the Organization of American States, the African (Banjul) Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and many other international human rights documents.
ICCPR, Article 25: Every citizen shall have the right and the opportunity, without any of the distinctions mentioned in Article 2 and without unreasonable restrictions:(a) To take part in the conduct of public affairs, directly or through freely chosen representatives;
(b) To vote and to be elected at genuine periodic elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held by secret ballot, guaranteeing the free expression of the will of the electors;(c) To have access, on general terms of equality, to public service in his country.
ICCPR, Article 2, paragraph 1: Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to respect and to ensure to all individuals within its territory and subject to its jurisdiction the rights recognized in the present Covenant, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.
The Rohingya people were enfranchised in all the nationwide elections of Burma—colonial period( 1935-1948), democratic period(1948-1962),Burma Socialist Programme Party [BSPP] regime under Junta Ne Win’s dictatorship( 1962-1988), multi-party election led by SLORC(1990) and general election 2010 led by USDP.
After Junta Ne Win staged a coup in 1962, Rohingya people had the right to vote and to be elected. Rohingya people voted and elected MPs amognst Rohingyas in these three general elections led by BSPP held for both chambers of the parliament in 1952,1956 and 1960 respectively. In 1952, Mr.Sultan Ahamed, Daw Aye Nyut@ Zohra Begom, Mr. Abul Bashar and U Poe Khine@ Nasir Uddin were elected as members of the Chamber of Deputies and Mr. Abdul Gaffar was elected as member of the Chamber of Nationalities.
In 1956, Mr. Sultan Ahmed, Mr. Abul Khair, Mr. Abul Bashar and Mr. Ezar Mian were elected as members of the Chamber of Deputies while Mr.Abdul Gaffar was re-elected as member of Chamber of Nationalities.
In 1960, Mr. Rashid Ahmed, Mr. Abul Khair and Mr. Sultan Mahmood were elected as member of the Chamber of Deputies and Mr. Abdus Subhan was elected as member of the Chamber of Nationalities.
Rohingya people enjoyed the voting right in these four general elections led by BSPP which were held in 1974,1978,1982 and 1986 respectively. Rohingya MPs—Mr.Abul Hussain and Dr.Abdul Rahim— hailed from Buthidaung and Maungdaw were elected during BSPP regime respectively.
Advocate Abdul Hai, Mr.Muzaffar Ahamed, Kyaw Thein Mustaq, Mustaq Ahmed, Saleh Ahmed, Elias,Aman Ullah, Boshir Ahmed and many others were Rohingya representatives of Arakan State Council during BSPP periods.
Moreover, the Rohingya people enjoyed the voting right in election of 1990 while NLD won a landslide victory.
Then, even during 2010 general election of Burma led by USDP, Rohingya people were not barred from participating in election.
Rohingya MPs elected during 2010 general election led by USDP
U Htay Win@Zahidur Rahman was elected for the house of Nationalities Parliament. U Aung zaw Win@Zakir Hussain and U Shwe Maung@Abdu Razak were elected for the house of People’s Parliament. U Aung Myo Myint@ Jahangeer, U Aung Myint@Zahid Ullah and Bashir Ahmed were elected for Rakhine State Parliament.
Regarding UN General Assembly’s resolution with non-binding measurement on Burma to grant Rohingya citizenship right dated late December 2014, the consecutive Burmese generals and their adopted militarized officials were inactive in the way they were paralyzed because international criminal court will never eliminate them from severe punishment for perpetuated human rights violations and Rohingya Genocide.
Then, since January 2015, President Thein Sein’s thugocracial regime, and some masterminds of the widespread violence against Rohingya 2012 the so called Rakhine politicians and hardliner Buddhist monks conspired that how to be eliminated from the upcoming charges of UN against committed crimes over Rohingya. Then, the central government stepped up repression against Rohingya and had taken all the necessary measurements to forcefully implement the long-awaited Rakhine Action Plan— either accept the ethnicity Bengali instead of Rohingya or be detained.
After a few days later, when Rakhine Action Plan was considered that the government will encounter major obstacles to completely implement it as Rohingya people prepared to face all the atrocious Acts of President Thein Sein’s lawless regime, on 11th February, President Thein Sein declared to invalidate the white card after March 31.
The key reason to invalidate the white cards is to legitimate the position of military backed President Thein Sein about deportation of the entire Rohingya community into any third country after barring the Rohingya from participating in election because the insistent denial of Rohingya existence by Burmese authorities brings UN’s fresh awareness and severe international pressures when Rohingya MPs reveal historical facts recognized by international historians on the existence of Rohingya people in western Burma, and the arrival of Rohingya even advent of Burman and Rakhine people there and speak out against the systematic persecution of authorities over Rohingya.
President Thein Sein’s lawless regime deliberately plotted to demonstrate to UN and international community that the insistent denial of Rohingya existence in western Burma by Burmese government is truth after disenfranchising over 1 million Rohingya people.
The constituency candidate application of current Rohingya MP U Shwe Maung[raised in greater prominence due to his boldly speech regarding Rohingya existence in Burma inside parliament], for upcoming November general election was rejected.
Simultaneously, two Rohingya human rights defenders, Mohamed Ayub bin Kala Miah and Mohamed Ibrahim, and one Rohingya women rights defender, Mrs Humaira Shah expressed that UNDPA has moral responsibility to demand Burma for a swift abolishment of rejection of Rohingya MP U Shwe Maung’s constituency candidate Application and Rohingya disenfranchisement.
Apparently, UN Security Council and International Election Observation Mission has the sole power to take all the necessary measurements to force Burma to respect the human rights of Rohingya including voting rights based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Certainly, UN must beware that Burma will further proceed mass atrocities against Rohingya in a vast momentum and over 1 million Rohingya will become eternally vote-less people in Burma when UN fails to overcome the current critical issue of Rohingya— Rohingya disenfranchisement in Burma and it might creates a next page of Rwanda Genocide at UN context .