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No ‘Rohingya’ in Myanmar ethnic groups, deputy minister says

Eleven Myanmar:
 February 24, 2013

No Rohingya is included in Myanmar’s more than 100 national
races, says a government deputy minister.

The Deputy Minister for Immigration and Population, Kyaw
Kyaw Tun replied to a question of Khin Saw Wai, an MP representing Rakhine
State, during a parliamentary session of the Lower House on Wednesday.

“There has never been a Rohingya race in Rakhine State.
According to the censuses collected in the colonial period, in 1973 and in
1983, the country’s ethnic groups include no Rohingya. That term was not
mentioned either in the British gazettes,” the deputy minister said.

He added that according to the 1973 and 1983 censuses,
non-ethnic citizens in Myanmar include Chinese, Indian, Pakistani, Bengali and
Nepalese.

According to the deputy minister, when the Myanmar was ruled
by the caretaker Government in 1958, related departments mentioned people
coming from Bangladesh to settle in Myanmar as Muslims in their official
records for issuing national identity cards.

After the 1973 censuses had been collected, the term
‘Bengali’ was recorded and no ‘Rohingya’ term was recorded, he added.

In last July, President Thein Sein in meeting with visiting
UN High Commissioner for Refugees Mr. Antonio Guterres in Nay Pyi Taw said
Myanmar would not allow illegal immigrant Rohingyas to live in the country.

He said that according to history, the British colonialists
took Bengalis into Myanmar before it regained independence in 1948 making them
engage in farm work. At that time, some settled down in the country because of
their good jobs.

According to the law, Myanmar only accepts the third
generation born of parents who had come to live in the county before 1948. In
Rakhine State, there were complicated problems such as descendents of Bengalis
who came before 1948 and illegal immigrants in disguise of Rohingya, said the
President.