What does the Arakan public say about the travel restrictions for 11/ NRC holders?

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Photo – DMG

The military council has reportedly ordered highway bus operators and travel agencies not to allow 11/ National Registration Card holders from Arakan State to travel within the country.

Development Media Group (DMG) has collected some voices from the people of Arakan on these restrictions imposed by the military council on 11/ NRC holders.

An Arakanese in Yangon

I couldn’t believe it at all when I first heard that the Arakanese people were banned from travelling. I had travel plans at the time. It was only when I called the bus stations that I found out that Arakanese people are not allowed to travel anywhere from Yangon, whether it’s Myitkyina or Mawlamyine. I was quite shocked when I heard that. What I want to say is that most Arakanese people in Yangon come here to work because their hometowns in Arakan State are impoverished. Their wages are not even enough to send back to their families, let alone to support revolutionary or political (groups). I would like to ask if the military council if it no longer sees the public as the people and is going to oppress anyone just for being Arakanese.

U Pe Than (Arakanese politician)

It’s about the rights of citizens. What law allows them to ban holders of the 11/NRC from travelling? In times of armed conflict in Arakan, for example, there may be travel restrictions between towns due to emergency situations. In such a situation, the authorities can impose travel bans through orders. But now they have imposed a nationwide travel ban on all Arakanese people. They can’t just impose a ban like that; they have to explain why.

The ban is more like racial discrimination, and it’s unlawful as well. Why did they do this? One reason could be that they fear that Arakanese people might join the Arakan Army (AA). Another reason could be the racist oppression of the Arakanese. In particular, they harbour a bitter dislike for the Arakanese. They have a dislike for the United League of Arakan (ULA). And at a time when they are losing battles, it looks like they are trying to cause racial problems unnecessarily. They shouldn’t be doing that. It violates the rights of citizens and is unlawful. So the action of the military council will remain a dark stain in history.

U Tun Kyi (Arakanese political analyst/ former political prisoner)

It is difficult to say what their (the military council’s) intention is. Whether it is to scare the public, only they themselves know. But at the moment this news is reverberating in the Arakanese community. It is worrying for the young people. On the other hand, it is difficult for them to maintain this ban for a long time because we are citizens who have an ID card issued by the state. If they really enforce it over a long period of time, the situation in this country could deteriorate further. As it is a restriction on the public, the international community cannot accept this either. Another problem is that resentments between the people of Arakan and the military council could grow.

An Arakanese in Yangon

We have heard of travel restrictions in Arakan because of the fighting. But I never thought this would happen in Yangon. During this time, many people fled the fighting in Arakan and came to Yangon for their safety. For them, it was only supposed to be temporary as they had no work either. Now I see that they are very scared as they can’t return to Arakan. If they (the military council) really value the citizens and the public, they should not do this. If the people feel that they can never return to their hometowns, no matter what government or ruler, they might become resentful. So I would like to say that they should not be doing such things.

Ma Aye Aye Yi (Kyaukphyu local)

Since the military council has been trying to conscript young people into the military, many people have fled Yangon in droves. Apart from trying to prevent this, the military council may have other motives. But the fact that they are only targeting the Arakanese and not restricting other ethnicities makes me think that this could become a bigger problem. I see the situation as worrying, especially for the young people. The young Arakanese can’t return to Arakan or stay safely in Yangon, where they may face other unforeseen problems besides conscription. In this situation, they are certainly very frightened. Since it is uncertain whether this situation will prolong or be temporary, it would be better for the Arakanese youth in Yangon to remain vigilant and cautious.

Sent by Aung Htein (DMG).

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