Rohingyas Brace For The Worst During Myanmar’s Election As Suu Kyi Takes The Lead

The future of democracy and the fate of the Rohingya refugees hangs in the balance

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Tanbirul Miraj Ripon
Tanbirul Miraj Ripon
TCT Asian Correspondent (Conflict Politics, Human Rights & International Relations ).He interviewed Noam Chomsky, Robert Fisk & 180+ Politics Experts . Twitter: @Miraj_Ripon

MYANMAR. Yangon: The country’s general election took place today. Due to COVID-19, voting has been completed in accordance with health regulations. Because of this, voting is still going on in some areas. A majority of 322 seats are needed to form a government. The National League For Democracy (NLD) and the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP) have received the majority of the votes so far. Early results show the NLD have already secured 13 Seats, with 33,677 votes, and the USDP with currently zero seats, but 12,133 votes.

According to opinion polls, the NLD is the party of the people of Myanmar. A total of 3 crore 38 lakh 39 thousand 173 voters cast their votes from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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For the second time, Myanmar is going to the polls without the Rohingya. It has been presumed that any party with a majority in the election will form a government without the Rohingya vote. Though even after the formation of the civil government, there has been no change in the fate of the Rohingyas, who have taken refuge in camps in Bangladesh for the safety of their lives, which is currently uncertain in Myanmar.

Shwe Maung, former Rohingya member of the Myanmar parliament.
Photo credit: Shwe Maung

Rohingya Leaders & Myanmar Student’s Union show support

Concern has been expressed there will be no chance for the displaced Rohingyas to identify as citizens of Myanmar. Rohingya leader Nay San Lwin explained to Transcontinental Times, “This election is meaningless to us. Suu Kyi is also a civil dictator. She is not doing anything for the Rohingyas, she is speaking to the army, for genocide.”

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In Myanmar, 5 million young voters cast their ballots in the election. There are 90 political parties in Myanmar that are fighting against the NLD, which is currently leading in political popularity. The Myanmar government has arrested three members of the All Burma Federation of Students Unions (ABFSU), for campaigning against the civil war and for Rohingya rights.

Lwin continued, ”There is no freedom of speech in Myanmar. If anyone talks about rights there, he is tortured. The law has taken a terrible turn.”

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The group claims that Myanmar’s elections have failed to restore democracy. That is why the organization of students has called for a boycott of the election.

Bangladesh law encorcement makes a statement

Hemayetul Islam, Commanding Officer of the Armed Police Battalion-16 (APBN), said that security has been beefed up with additional law enforcement agencies to prevent any conflict among the Rohingyas in Bangladesh due to the election.

Meanwhile, 1.5 million voters in the conflict-riddled areas, including Rakhine state, are not getting votes for security reasons. Among them are the people of Rakhine State, who voted in 2015. People in Rakhine state have protested with lime in their hands for not being allowed to vote.

Asked if there were any protests or grievances among the Rohingya, Lwin said, “We want to get our citizenship back. We have incidents of taking part in elections. Representatives of Rohingyas have gone to the parliament. The Rohingya have played a role in the national decision. Now all political parties are behaving the same with Rohingya.”

Rohingyas will be kept under tight security and surveillance for several days for extra security in the camps, the APBN-16 officer said.

Shwe Maung speaks out

Former Myanmar Parliamentarian Shwe Maung told Transcontinental Times, “We were not allowed to stand or vote. The Rohingya must be given back their right to vote if democracy is to be restored in Myanmar. This election is by no means neutral and is not about defending democracy. “

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