Govt Sets Two-Child Limit for Rohingyas in Northern Arakan

A Rohingya woman and her child at Bawdupha, a camp located several kilometers east of Sittwe, Arakan State. (Photo: Jpaing / The Irrawaddy)

RANGOON—Authorities in the north of Arakan State added another measure to the restrictions imposed on Rohingya Muslims last week, by introducing a regional order that sets a two-child limit for local families. The directive, which is effective in Maungdaw District, also bans polygamy.

“Regarding family planning, they can only get two children,” Arakan State government spokesperson Win Myaing said on Monday, adding that only monogamous marriages would be recognized.

“The rule is only for certain groups… For Buddhist people, we don’t need that rule, because Buddhist people only have one wife,” Win Myaing said. “It’s being implemented to control the population growth, because it’s becoming too crowded there.”

Maungdaw District authorities, he said, “will not use force, but if people want to marry [or register newborn children] they have to submit forms to relevant local authorities and gain permission.”

In Maungdaw District, located in northern Arakan State along Burma’s border with Bangladesh, the majority of the population is Rohingya and there is a small Arakanese Buddhist minority.

Burma’s central government, Arakan State authorities and Arakanese politicians have long claimed that the Muslim population in the region is rapidly growing and pushing out local Buddhist communities.

Arakan nationalist leaders said the new regional order had been adopted on May 12 on instructions from the central government in Naypyidaw.

“The two-child policy is only for Bengali fathers and mothers who have no citizenship. They have no ID, they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh,” Than Tun, of the Arakan Social Network, said during an interview in Sittwe last week. “The order came from the president and it was implemented as a regional notice.”

Shwe Maung, a northern Arakan State MP with the ruling Union, Solidarity and Development Party, said he could not confirm that Naypyidaw had ordered the implementation of a two-child policy in Maungdaw. “If this is from the Union Parliament it should be publicly released. But I didn’t find any information about it,” he said.

Last month, a government report claimed that “high population growth” among the Muslim population had contributed to last year’s clashes between Arakanese Buddhists and Rohingyas. It recommended voluntary family-planning measures among the Muslim population.

Inter-communal violence in June and October 2012 killed almost 200 people and displaced about 140,000 people, mostly Rohingyas.

The new order will add to a range of government restrictions imposed on the Rohingya population, such as limits on freedom of movement and access to government services, and existing conditions on recognition of marriages and children.

Burma’s government does not accept the Rohingyas as citizens and terms them “Bengalis,” suggesting that they have come from Bangladesh in recent decades. The Rohingyas claim they are native to Arakan State.

Human Rights Watch has alleged that the government has been complicit in the killings and ethnic cleansing of Rohingyas last year. The US-based group said that since then, “the Burmese government has tightened its discriminatory restrictions on the Rohingya, although many of the policies have been in place for decades.”

Myo Thant, a Rohingya politician from the Democracy and Human Rights party, which is based in Maungdaw District, said that the new two-child policy was based on false allegations by government officials.

“They accuse us of being responsible for an explosion of the Muslim population in Maungdaw District, but this has always been a Muslim majority area with a dense population,” he said.

Myo Thant said Arakanese leaders and the central government had long contrived to control the Rohingya population and limit their rights.

“Since 1988, they have tried to control the birth rates,” he said, adding that families in Maungdaw District had been subject to the authority of local battalions of the Burmese border security force, the Nasaka, which has the power to approve registration of Rohingya newborns and marriages.

(Additional reporting in Sittwe by Htet Naing Zaw)


13 Responses to Govt Sets Two-Child Limit for Rohingyas in Northern Arakan

  1. What kind of justice. These Rohingya people were forced to leave from their towns by different Governments from 1942 onward. They ran for their lives and took shelter in Maung Daw and Buthidaung . Now they are densely populated in this two towns. They cannot move from these towns to other towns. So this is their fault. Their population is high because Govt. make them. Now another cruel restriction. Do whatever you people can inflict on them.. Now is the time for them the darkest in their worlds. But who knows the turn will not change. There is always darkness before down

  2. One life one wife one family!

  3. That is an excellent step in the right direction not for a nationalistic reason but in a situation where it is clear and that is mostly why UN and INGO s are there , where mothers are forced to get much much more children than they and specially their Husbands can feed and educate , — all under the pretext of a religion to ensure that they outnumber the other race in a soon time. If peaceful living together is with the Bengali community in North Rakhine on the program than they will understand and fully agree with such a step.Nothing against a certain religion but their women should be given more free choice how many children they like to have and not be abused by their men as race mass production bodies only …. Good step by the government,- Monogamy is also a Law in Myanmar and should be enforced there but also by the many Myanmar rich Buddhist men with all their Misteresses since many years. Love and do not scare your neighbors is a better recipe for peace….

  4. I respectfully submit that, with over 7 BILLION humans on earth, crowding out and driving to extinction other species, despoiling the earth and polluting all of its systems that we all need to share to survive, it should not be one group that is under this imposition, but ALL people need to seriously think about and practice birth control. The more people there are, the worse the quality of life is for us all, as well.

  5. It it is against the gross violation of human rights as well as birth rights. To-day you are doing this tomorrow you will see what you have to This action is groos violation of human rights and birth rights. Do not blame any body it is yours’ cruelty and discrimination among the society within Arakan. Do you think that Arakan alone belongs to you, to day you are in power tomorrow you will loose power then you think it over hundred times before you do it. The day will come soon you have to pay the cost who ever you may be.

  6. All steps taken for Rohingya Muslims ( Oop Bengalee – some people dislike the name Rohingya) are in right direction as per some people. Theya are not human being but animals. They can not move, marry and now they will not be able to have more than two children. Excellent – Right direction. If similar restriction impose on Burmese in other country how they will feel.

  7. Zaw Win,
    There’s no reason to dislike Rohingya name among Burmese peoples. However, the problem is inventing bogus story about new indigenous ethnic of Burmese. We don’t care Bengali called themselves as Rohingya or Bofingya or whatever, as long as they do not invented bogus story for to get new indigenous ethnic status in Burma.
    As you know, Burmese illegal migrant workers in Malaysia and other South East Asia countries do not free as illegal Bengali migrants in Rakhine state. Communal riot was started by those illegal Bengali migrants in Rakhine state. Everyone knows how Malaysia police and immigration officers treat illegal migrant workers in Islamist state. Burmese-Muslim peoples are free to produce child as much as they afford to feed their children and there is no restriction on birth. The Government birth control over illegal Bengali migrants is wrong.

    The Government can not do birth control only on illegal Bengali Migrants. It’s violating human right of illegal Bengali migrants. However, Burmese Government can assist them with medical service if they seeking help for birth control planning in their family.
    What Government needs to do is negotiate with Bangladeshi Government for repatriate it own citizens and descendent of it own citizens from Rakhine state.
    If Bangladeshi Government does not accept its citizens from Rakhine stae and then we should support militia in Chittagong Hill Tracts, Manipur and Assam. I believe Sittagon Hill Tracts, Assam and Manipur should be one independent country in future.
    Also legality of British Colony Government given Sittagong Hill Tracts to East Pakistan was questionable because Sittagong Hill Tracts had been territory of Rakhine kingdom for over thousand of years before Burmese king given up Manipur, Assam and Arakan (Rakhine) to British. Rajas in Sittagong never rule over Sittagong Hill Tracts.
    Burmese Government must rethink about birth control policy over illegal Bengali migrates in Rakhine state. I hope the solution must not be costs at Rakhine peoples.
    We know illegal Bengali Migrants are not animals but they must go back where they come from. Burmese Government must treat illegal Bengali migrants humanly until they were accepted by Bangladeshi Government.
    The problem is Bangladeshi Government illegal dumping its over populated peoples in neighbor countries like rubbishes. Bangladeshi Government refusing to taken back its citizens from neighboring countries is grossly violation of right of it own citizens and its neighbors’ Border security.
    Illegal Bengali migrants’ problem won’t be going away by birth controlling over Bengali peoples in Rakhine state. Government needs to find permanent solution for those Bengali illegal migrants.

  8. How will the government enforce this policy of discrimination? If they have more than two children, are they going to jail? To me, this is a nonsense policy. Myanmar government is making itself so funny by imposing this discriminating policy.

  9. Were there any Muslims in Arakense Kings Court?. Was there any Mosques, name Sindi Khan in Myo Haung and any name Shuja who was from King Akbar decedent? Only narrating selective things from the past to show the world that there were no Muslims in Arkhan. Only recent migration. This is to deceive the world.. Who introduced the 1982 citizenship law. The dictator Ne Win. We will accept his law because it is what current Rakhine Administration wants. We will void and kick out democratically elected Govt. law of the past because those people who were in the power at time were not trustworthy. Bangladesh Govt. could not dump it’s people to Rakhine state. Because people would not like to come to Burma as the time was cruel Ne Win era. It was so strict and most of the immigrations officers were Rakhine at that time. So there is no logic people migrated from Bangladesh at that time. During that period lot of Rakhine came from Bangladesh and settled. But for them no problem because they were and are Buddhist. Law should be equal for all, irrespective of religions. If we shout and shout illegal Bengalee, for Rohingya , Rohingya name will not be wiped out from the world. Because it will be very difficult to fool learned men who will dig out the history of Arkan state

  10. Were there any Muslims in Arakense Kings Court?. Was there any Mosques name Sindi Khan in Myo Haung and any name Shuja who was from King Akbar decedent? Only narrating selective things from the past to show the world that there were no Muslims in Arkhan. Only recent migration. This is to deceive the world.. Who introduced the 1982 citizenship law. The dictator Ne Win. We will accept his law because it is what current Rakhine Administration wants. We will void and kick out democratically elected Govt. law of the past because those people who were in the power at time were not trustworthy. Bangladesh Govt. could not dump it’s people to Rakhine state. Because people would not like to come to Burma as the time was cruel Ne Win era. It was so strict and most of the immigrations officers were Rakhine at that time. So there is no logic people migrated from Bangladesh at that time. During that period lot of Rakhine came from Bangladesh and settled. But for them no problem because they are Buddhist. Law should be equal for all, irrespective of religions. If we shout and shout illegal Bengali, for Rohingya , Rohingya name will not be wiped out from the world. Because it will be very difficult to fool learned men who will dig out the history of Arkan state will certainly get the truth

  11. imposing birth control on particular ethnic like rohingya ethnic in arakan is one of many discriminatory policy under practiced.ethnic cleansing,genocide against rohingya ethnic was systematically taken underway as HRW reported,but no action from international community against magh rakhine,rague thien sein and his followers to stop crime against humanity.not booking crime committed like magh bangali Dr. Aye maung,other those responsible encouraged for participate more criminal activity.after killing hundred of thousand of rohingya ethnic with cool blood in rakhine,hundred of thousand half death are at camp,magh thugs unable to kill openly and imposing ridiculous policy of birth control which rohingya imposed them self already where they are facing dead and life under wild animal magh rule with support of racist ruler from naypaytaw.branding rohingya ethnic as Bengali, some commentator making themselves as laughing stock.Late pres. Dr. maung2 he is educated but his evil did contribution of 1982 act, which only target is rohingya ethinic remembered as evil.

  12. Oh yea.Texas was belong to Mexico not USA.China was belong to Mngol.Where is even Manchus? East and west parkistan was belong to India.Let’s dig the history harder sothat we know who was who?Who was not even in the any history but just freshly fabricated or formulated or manufactured.You can fool or lie to the whole world but don’t lie to yourself.By the way,For the good cause,china used to have one family one child policy.

  13. Educated & working class have no time to take care their babies & so, prefered 1 or 2 babies in the family. That happens in modern developed countries. Anyway, the world is getting smaller, the world population is swelling.
    In Rakhine, Rohingya story is different. If nothing to do, then more time to make babies & they did. Burmese government afraid “Bangali brothers & sisters” story. That’s the reason Burmese government imposed 2 children policy to them. Better than China’s 1 child policy, I think!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available. Comments with external links in the body text will be deleted by moderators.