Controversial citizenship law will be reviewed: Suu Kyi office replies to JIH Gen Sec

November 23, 2012

New Delhi: Responding promptly to the letter written by Mr. Nusrat Ali, General Secretary of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind, the office of Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi has promised the controversial 1982 citizenship law which has affected lakhs of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar will be reviewed.

Jamaat leader on 18th November had written to Ms Suu Kyi expressing his concern over the ongoing plight of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state of Myanmar. Jamaat leader had raised the issue of the 1982 Citizenship Law through which Rohingya Muslims have been made stateless, in contravention to the international laws. While strongly condemning the alleged rape-murder of a Buddhist girl earlier this year and large scale anti-Muslim violence in Rakhine, Jamaat leader had urged Ms Suu Kyi to take the issue seriously and impress upon the Burmese government to find justice-based and amicable solution to the problem. Ms Suu Kyi was visiting India last week.

In reply to the Jamaat leader’s letter within hours, Mr. Derek Tonkin, Chairman, Network Myanmar, said he has great sympathy with the plight of Rakhine Muslims. He also said that Ms. Suu Kyi has said that the controversial law should be reviewed to make it compatible with international norms.

“I have great sympathy with the plight of Rakhine Muslims…Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has already stated publicly that the 1982 Citizenship Law should be reviewed, to ensure that it is compatible with international norms and practices…,” Mr. Tonkin said in his reply to the letter of JIH General Secretary Mr. Nusrat Ali.

Mr. Tonkin also said that the problem has emanated not from the law but its “perverse, obstructive and hostile interpretation by recalcitrant and prejudiced local officials.”

“That is, it is not so much the Law which is at fault, but rather its perverse, obstructive and hostile interpretation by recalcitrant and prejudiced local officials. In any case, the real difficulty lay between 1948 and 1982 (before the 1982 Law came into force).  That was when so many Rakhine Muslims were denied citizenship. The 1982 Law has not taken citizenship away from any person who is officially recognised as having Myanmar citizenship already,” Mr. Tonkin said.

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  1. A. Majid Sama

    Good effort by Jamaat

  2. Sadaqat Mulla

    Nice to see JIH raising international human rights issue, with right people and right way.. Plz Keep it up..!

  3. shameem ahmed

    Right issue raised by jamaat at right time.