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Burma: Identity Cards

Question for Foreign and Commonwealth Office

UIN HL2295, tabled on 16 September 2015

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they are making to the government of Myanmar about abolishing ethnic and religious classifications for identification cards.

Answered on

24 September 2015

We have a number of concerns about how identity cards and citizenship are obtained in Burma and the role of religion and ethnicity. Of particular concern are how these apply to the Muslim Rohingya community in Rakhine State, the requirement for Rohingya to identify as ‘Bengali’ to apply for citizenship, and the cancellation, on 31 March 2015, of all ‘White Card’ identity documents – the only form of identification held by many Rohingya.

We have repeatedly made our views known to the Burmese authorities on both questions. The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), pressed the Burmese authorities on the issue of identity cards and a pathway to citizenship for the Rohingya during his visit to Burma in July.