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Physicians for Human Rights Comments on Discriminatory Plan for the Rohingya

For Immediate Release

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) today criticized a plan that would force many Rohingya to claim Bangladeshi origin as part of a strategy by the government of Burma to further isolate the minority group. Those who refuse to renounce their identity are reportedly being arrested, tortured, or sent to camps.

"Forcing the Rohingya, many of whom have lived in Burma for generations, to register as Bengali is yet another example of the persecution they face," said Andrea Gittleman, PHR’s interim director of U.S. policy. "A 1982 law denies Rohingya full citizenship and equal protection, and this registration plan seeks to keep the Rohingya stateless. Denying members of an ethnic group citizenship and forcing them into internment camps is a crime against humanity."

Approximately 140,000 Rohingya have been forcibly displaced, are living in squalid conditions, and are in desperate need of humanitarian aid, including medical care.

According to news reports, Burma, also known as Myanmar, has confirmed it is finalizing a plan that would offer the Rohingya limited citizenship if they change their identity to Bengali, which indicates Bangladeshi origin. Rohingya leaders have told PHR that those who refuse to register as Bengali face arrest, detention, and torture.

Physicians for Human Rights (PHR) is a New York-based advocacy organization that uses science and medicine to prevent mass atrocities and severe human rights violations. Learn more here.

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