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UN 'deeply concerned' by Myanmar's Rohingya census ban

Published on Apr 1, 2014 11:06 PM
 
A volunteer collects data from an ethnic Kaman family living in a Rohingya refugee camp during a national census in Sittwe, the capital of Rakhine State on Tuesday, April 1, 2014. The UN agency tasked with facilitating Myanmar's first census in decades on Tuesday said it was "deeply concerned" over a government decision to bar Muslims from identifying as Rohingya, warning it could stoke tensions. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

YANGON (AFP) - The UN agency tasked with facilitating Myanmar's first census in decades on Tuesday said it was "deeply concerned" over a government decision to bar Muslims from identifying as Rohingya, warning it could stoke tensions.

Myanmar had said it would conduct the rare survey in accordance with international standards and "explicitly agreed" to allow people to be able to choose their own ethnicity, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) said in a statement.

The agreement was dropped on the eve of the census, which began Sunday and runs to April 10, when Myanmar announced that "Rohingya" would not be accepted by census takers.

The move followed fresh unrest in western Rakhine State where Buddhist nationalists have campaigned vociferously against the inclusion of the term, fearing it could herald political rights for the stateless Muslim Rohingya.

 
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