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By Aman Ullah

A Myanmar delegation led by Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement, Dr Win Myat Aye, attended the 70th Annual Plenary Session of the Executive Committee of the High Commissioner’s Programme (ExCom), held at the UN assembly hall, in Geneva, Switzerland, from 7 to 11 October 2019.

In that plenary session, Myanmar’s Union Minister Dr. Win Myat Aye delivered a statement at the opening ceremony of ExCom. In his statement Dr. Win Myat Aye mentioned that,

“Myanmar holds the view that systematic documentation is of paramount importance in addressing the issue of undocumented people throughout the country. With that in mind, national verification cards (NVC) are issued, in accordance with Myanmar’s 1982 Citizenship Law. It is procedure applied to all in the whole country including the displaced persons from Rakhine State and returnees from Thailand.”

It is a blatant lie and an eyewash by him to the international communities and nothing more. About national verification cards (NVC), the minister informed that national verification cards (NVC) are issued, in accordance with Myanmar’s 1982 Citizenship Law. It is not true; NVC mentioned nowhere in the 1982 Citizenship Law or its 1983 regulations.

Before 2010 election, the then government issued TRC (white Card) to the Rohingyas and other minority populations, such as the Burma-born ethnic Chinese and Indian that allowed them to vote in two occasions. Allegedly, the ruling party, Union Solidarity and Development Party, chaired by the then President Thein Sein, coerced or bought Rohingya votes to secure a majority in parliament in the 2010 elections. The new card was issued under the 1949 Residents of Burma Registration Act and the 1951 Residents of Burma Registration Rules, both of which acts were superseded by the 1982 Citizenship Law but were reintroduced in order to be used solely for the registration of Rohingyas.

In February 2015, the Thein Sein Government announced the expiry of “temporary identity certificates (white card), held by some 700,000 stateless people across the country, including the Rohingya, the Chinese and other minority groups. The certificate was the primary document held by stateless persons in Rakhine to confirm their legal residence in Myanmar.

On 3rd April 2015, the President’s office formed an advisory commission and the commission suggested to the government that NVC may be issued as per section 3(4) of Resident of Burma Registration Rules 1951 and section 5 (2-c) of Residents of Burma Registration Act 1949 to those who surrendered their TRC (white card). The ministry of the Immigration has issued the NVC cards to people who need and want to apply for citizenship according to the Immigration Act when the received permission from the government.

Thus, issuing NVC is neither according to 1982 Citizenship Law nor Presidential Order, it is according to Immigration Act with the suggestion of advisory commission formed by the president’s Office. Moreover, the 1949 Residents of Burma Registration Act and the 1951 Residents of Burma Registration Rules, both of which acts were superseded by the 1982 Citizenship Law but were reintroduced in order to be used solely for the registration of Rohingyas, which is even more objectionable in so far as it was applied in an ex-post facto manner in contradiction to the international legal standards.

Dr. Win Mya Aye further stated that, “NVC is a path to citizenship. The NVC process to citizenship, which took 2 years, has now been shortened to 6 months.”

NVC is issuing since June 2015 but still, none can get citizenship through this NVC processed how it can be done within 6 months. It is a blatant lie and just trying to eyewash to the international communities.

He further stated that “We continue our efforts in creating more conductive condition for all returnees. While we are implementing the recommendations on Rakhine, the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement, and Development – UEHRD is implementing the projects to be ready for repatriation and resettlement.”

This is another eyewash, the Union Enterprise for Humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine (UEHRD) has been launched by State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on 12 October 2017. It is a public-private Union enterprise with three main goals: providing humanitarian assistance, carrying out resettlement and rehabilitation and working for development in Rakhine State. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi acts as Chairperson and Dr. Win Myat Aye the Union Minister for Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement acts as Vice Chairman. This Union Enterprise was funded by not only the public and private sectors but also UN agencies, friendly countries, international and regional financial institutions as well as by donors inside the country and those who are living abroad all over the world.

The UEHRD is a civil government institution without participation of military authority. The Myanmar State Craft is running by the Army in the driving seat; Command, Control and Communication are in the Army’s hand; Operation, Management, Maintaining and Aviation are in hand of Army men. The NLD government is only like Business class and first-class passengers of the craft and economic class seats are for the public.

Hence, how can NLD government do anything without the consent of Army Chief? NLD government can make many kinds of policy, plan and program but without the consent of Army Chief all go to in Vain. The ministers of the government can only eyewash to other and nothing can be implementing.