Myanmar uses green card argument to defend barring stateless Rohingya from voting


Myanmar has defended a decision barring 800,000 ethnic minority people from voting in November elections by saying that green card holders can’t vote in U.S. elections either.

Foreign Minister Wanna Maung Lwin drew awkward laughter Thursday at the Council on Foreign Relations when he likened the situation of foreign citizens permitted to live and work in the U.S. with Myanmar’s “white card” holders, many of them stateless Rohingya Muslims.

In March, Myanmar declared the temporary identification cards invalid. Those who held them could vote in the last national elections in 2010, but they won’t be able to vote this time.

That’s drawn international criticism. It is the latest sign of discrimination against a persecuted, stateless minority. Many Rohingya have lived in Myanmar for decades.

  • Imbid Limbid

    Just because Rohingyas have lived in Myanmar for decades does not entitle them to voting rights, and citizenship. No one would know this better than Americans.

  • Tu Tu Ba Tin

    Should be better to simply have a common sense related to this issue if we want a solution, for instance, a person or a group of people has been dominantly living on a private premises possessed by a particular family or a group of people for a long time and who is in practice not related by blood or marriage or in a state of total stranger/s with the host family as well: maybe he/they was/were saved from life threatening circumstances or he they himself/themselves took refuge in there with or without consent of the host and is also hard to expel that premises for some reasons. In such a situation like this, should we blame the involuntary host for not accepting the semi-forcible refuge takers as their relatives who deserve equal benefits kinsmen used to have traditionally. And should we blame them for not giving the aliens equal rights in communal or societal terms. Settling down on a premises as the uninvited does not mean becoming family members or at least kinsmen of the land owner irrespective of period of time.