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The Hill: No Democracy In Burma Without Rights For Rohingya

Friday, Aug. 19* was World Rohingya Day, marking an opportunity for the global community to truly commit to alleviating the suffering of the Rohingya people. In light of the ongoing crises occurring elsewhere in the world, the plight of the Rohingya often fades from the international spotlight. World Rohingya Day is a salient reminder that members of the ethnic group continue to live lives permeated by fear and marginalization. This must be seen for what it is — unacceptable — and cannot be allowed to continue. Decisive action must be taken to afford the Rohingya people the equal opportunities and freedoms they deserve.

In almost every aspect of their lives, the community faces continuous, unrelenting discrimination. Under the Burma Citizenship Law of 1982, the Rohingya are excluded from the 135 officially recognized ethnic groups, leaving them vulnerable to abuse and mistreatment. They face restrictions on freedom of movement, limits on access to education and healthcare, and prohibition from civil service professions. They are unable to freely practice their religion. They have been barred from political participation through disenfranchisement and disqualification from running for office. They are required to obtain official permission to marry, a process not mandated for other ethnicities. This is institutionalized persecution across the political, economic and social spheres, and it must be redressed.

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