Still Existing Discrimination Based On Ethnicity And Religion In Burma

kachinStill Existing Discrimination Based On Ethnicity and Religion in Burma:

Under successive Burmese governments, people of non-Burma ethnic and non-Buddhist background find themselves discriminated against their Burman Buddhist counterparts in education, employment and various levels of civil service. 

Even those in the army and police serving successive governments were systematically denied promotions in rank on the sole basis of their ethnicity and religion.

Since the 1980s, the new Burmese citizenship law required that every citizen of Union of Burma register for a national identity card on which all particulars including the bearer’s ethnic and religious backgrounds should be provided.  Although the initial intention was to exclude “foreigners” such as Indian and Chinese immigrants from citizenship, the introduction of the identity card has had a far-reaching impact on ethnic and religious minority groups.

Because the card is essential for travel, employment, health care and higher education, people of non-Burman and non-Buddhist background could be easily denied for employment as well as promotion in civil service on the basis of the particulars provided on the national identity card.

In many instances, for Christians and other religious minorities, promotion in civil service is conditioned by their conversion into Buddhism.  Many Christian civil servants with outstanding service records have been blatantly denied promotion while their Buddhist peers with less qualification and less seniority quickly rose to high ranking positions.

Even a few exceptional non-Buddhist individuals securing high ranking positions were sacked or forced to retire from their positions.

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