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Myanmar says 'Rohingya' term banned from first census in three decades

Published on Mar 29, 2014 5:58 PM

SITTWE (AFP) - Myanmar said Saturday that Muslims would not be allowed to register as "Rohingya" in its first census in three decades despite UN assurances, on the eve of a survey that has fanned sectarian tensions.

The move came as Buddhists in an unrest-hit western state vowed to boycott the census over fears it could lead to official recognition for the Rohingya, viewed by the United Nations as among the world's most persecuted minorities.

"If a household wants to identify themselves as 'Rohingya', we will not register it," government spokesman Ye Htut told reporters in Yangon.

He said people could call themselves "Bengali", a term used by the authorities who view most Rohingya as illegal immigrants from neighbouring Bangladesh.

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