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Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 24th September 2015.

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Photo of Lord Hussain Lord Hussain Liberal Democrat

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they are making to the government of Myanmar about abolishing ethnic and religious classifications for identification cards.

Photo of Baroness Anelay of St Johns Baroness Anelay of St Johns Minister of State

We have a number of concerns about how identity cards and citizenship are obtained in Burma and the role of religion and ethnicity. Of particular concern are how these apply to the Muslim Rohingya community in Rakhine State, the requirement for Rohingya to identify as ‘Bengali’ to apply for citizenship, and the cancellation, on 31 March 2015, of all ‘White Card’ identity documents – the only form of identification held by many Rohingya.

We have repeatedly made our views known to the Burmese authorities on both questions. The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire), pressed the Burmese authorities on the issue of identity cards and a pathway to citizenship for the Rohingya during his visit to Burma in July.

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