Burma Human Rights Network has released a report titled “Discrimination and Corruption Plague Burmese Passport System” detailing systemic discrimination and corruption found throughout Burma’s passport office. The report details the multiple mechanisms used by the Burmese authorities to further burden the Muslim community living inside of Burma.
The authorities have forced Muslims to identify themselves as various non-Burmese nationalities on their ID cards and use these nationalities to then classify Muslims as ‘Mixed blood’. When Muslims apply for their passports faced systematic discrimination. Witnesses also reported instances of corruption where officials insisted on bribes by minority applicants to process their applications.
One of the most alarming details in the report is the use of Burma’s Special Branch intelligence police to investigate the home addresses and backgrounds of Muslim applicants for no apparent reason other than to intimidate and inconvenience them. Authorities justify this form of harassment by saying it is for security purposes.
“These practices used against Muslims are clearly done to degrade their quality of life and their status in the society. The Burmese authorities must cease to identify Muslims as other nationalities or describe them as “mixed blood.” The discrimination in the passport office is part of a greater machine working in concert to degrade, dispossess and humiliate the Muslim population,” said BHRN Executive Director, Kyaw Win.
The report calls on Burma to cease the identification of religion and nationality on State ID cards and to uphold Burma’s own constitution which guarantees equal treatment under the law for religious and ethnic minorities. The Report also calls on the International Community to respond to these and other findings with diplomatic pressure including bring divestment and targeted sanctions to the table if Burma persists in oppressive policies against minorities.
Background on the Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
BHRN is based in London and operates across Burma/Myanmar working for human rights, minority rights and religious freedom in the country. BHRN has played a crucial role in advocating for human rights and religious freedom with politicians and world leaders.
Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN)
T: +44(0) 740 345 2378
BHRN FULL REPORT PDF