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Tensions as Myanmar embarks on first census in 30 years

Published on Mar 30, 2014 3:09 PM
 
In a picture taken on March 21, 2014 a school teacher passes posters of a census enumerator and supervisor at a school in Yangon ahead of a Myanmar nationwide census. Tens of thousands of census-takers fanned out across Myanmar on Sunday, March 30, 2014 to gather data for a rare snapshot of the former junta-ruled nation that is already stoking sectarian tensions. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

SITTWE, Myanmar (AFP) - Tens of thousands of census-takers fanned out across Myanmar on Sunday to gather data for a rare snapshot of the former junta-ruled nation that is already stoking sectarian tensions.

Groups of schoolteachers and local officials began the 12-day population survey - the first since 1983 - travelling from house to house in an ambitious drive aimed at counting everyone across the poverty-stricken nation.

But the census was called into question before it even started in Rakhine state, the site of deadly religious conflict. A main point of contention is that Muslims will not be able to register as "Rohingya".

Buddhist nationalists have threatened to boycott the tally over fears it could lead to official recognition for the Rohingya, viewed by the United Nations as among the world's most persecuted minorities.

 
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