The European Rohingya Council (ERC) condemns the recent decision made by the Myanmar authority’s election commission to prevent current Member of Parliament Mr. Shwe Maung from running re-election this November to the lower house as an independent candidate of his Rakhine State constituency.

Despite his more than four years as a Member of Parliament of the ruling Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) and documented evidence, the commission claimed that his parents were not citizens at the time of his birth.

The accusation is not true as both his parents and his grandparents are all citizens of Myanmar like other Rohingya, and received National Registration Cards (only ID card existed at that time) in 1957. Father of Mr. Shwe Maung, Abdul Hadi, born in 1918, served as a career-long police officer in the National Police Force in Rakhine State until his retirement in 1978 (note that only citizens of the country can serve in armed forces). Mr. Shwe Maung, born in 1965, is currently serving as a member of the parliament; therefore, is citizen of Myanmar.

Following government’s decisions in June this year, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have been vanished from voter rolls, and will likely be unable to cast ballots in the upcoming general election. This comes despites the fact that the Rohingya were eligible to vote, and had taken part in every election since Myanmar became independent from Britain in 1948, including in the previous elections in 2010.

It is obvious that the decision to reject his candidacy is nothing more than another attempt by authorities to disenfranchise and persecute Rohingya, part of a broader government-backed campaign to drive them out of the country. The decision is not based on legal ground; rather it is based on the ethnicity, hatred and discrimination against the helpless Rohingya minority.The right to run for election is as fundamental as the right to vote, and cannot be denied on the basis of religion or ethnicity.

We, therefore, call upon Myanmar Election Commission to reverse the decision, and are appealing the international community including EU, ASEAN, UN and OIC to take necessary measures to ensure Mr. Shwe Maung, and other Rohingya can run as independent candidates for the parliament as well as Rohingya can vote in the upcoming election so that election is in line with democratic principles.

Khairul Amin (Chairman)
ERC
For more information please contact; Khairul Amin + 4792428989
U Hla Tin +45716950