Burma Times – Myanmar will not allow Muslims to register as ‘Rohingya’ in the country’s first census in three decades despite UN assurances.
Ye Htut, a government spokesman, says Rohingya Muslims can call themselves Bengali as they register for the first census in the past 30 years.
The term “Bengali” is being used by the authorities who view most Rohingyas as illegal immigrants from neighboring Bangladesh.
Extremist Buddhists in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine say they will boycott the census over fears that it could lead to the official recognition of the Rohingyas.
Muslims in parts of the Rakhine state complained that authorities have threatened them with harsh penalties if they identify themselves as Rohingya despite the UN assurances.
The country’s first UN-backed census will last 12 days and is aimed at plugging an information deficit in the former junta-run country.
Meanwhile, the UN accused Myanmar of deviating from its commitment that the census will be exercised in accordance with international standards and human rights principles.
In a statement, the UN Population Fund said the exclusion of Rohingyas undermines the credibility of the data.