ANP files police case against immigration official over citizenship project

By SU MYAT MON | FRONTIER

YANGON — The Arakan National Party has asked police to take action against Rakhine State’s top immigration official, alleging that he broke the law in granting provisional citizenship to a young Muslim woman in Buthidaung Township hoping to study in Yangon.

U Aung Than Wai, secretary of the ANP’s Sittwe Township office, told Frontier that U Win Lwin had violated the 1982 Citizenship Law by approving the woman’s application despite the fact her parents were not citizens of Myanmar.

He claimed the ANP was in possession of a video recording which gave “proof” Win Lwin had disregarded the law.

The case was filed with the Sittwe police station on Saturday and Win Lwin had been notified of the complaint, resident police Col. Yan Naing Lat confirmed on Tuesday, adding that authorities were evaluating the evidence to decide whether to pursue the charge.

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Frontier could not reach U Win Lwin for comment.

As part of the government’s 100-day plan, the Ministry of Immigration restarted a citizenship verification program introduced by the Thein Sein administration in 2014, which was later cancelled in the wake of local opposition.

In February 2015, the government revoked the so-called “white-card” temporary identity documents held by around one million people across Myanmar, the vast majority of which were issued to Rohingya Muslims living in Rakhine State.

The woman at the centre of Saturday’s police complaint is one of around 30 former white-card holders in Buthidaung have been invited by the Immigration Ministry to participate in the new citizenship verification pilot program, a project which has been publicly condemned by the ANP.

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