Recently collected information shows that out of 62,366 Mon people living in Thanintharyi Region 39,582 have no national identification card (ID) according to the Mon Population Collecting Group.
The statement was made at a press conference held at Zaw-Tika-Yama Monastery in Mawlamyine Town, Mon State on 2nd February.
The working committee of the Mon Population Collecting Group in Thanintharyi Region has sent a letter to the related government departments.
Min Kyaw Khaing Win, a leading member of the working committee said: “We know that they [the government] have the Moe-Pwint project, (a project to issue ID cards) so I hope they will issue the IDs.”
Although the Mon Population Collecting Group surveyed 181 village-tracts in Thanintharyi Region there are still over 20 village-tracts that have not yet been surveyed because they are in dangerous areas or because they are hard to reach.
Min Kyaw Khaing Win explained why obtaining ID for the unregistered Mon was so important. Under the Burmese constitution if 0.1 percent or more of the total population of a state or region is from a certain ethnic background they are entitled to have a minister of their ethnicity representing them in the state parliament.
He said: “So, [if] there is a population of over 60,000 Mon in Thanintharyi Region we can get an ethnic Mon minister.
After the previous 2010 elections the government did not appoint an ethnic Mon minister for the Thanintharyi Region because they thought there were less than 60,000 Mon people living in the state.
Min Chan Lon a Mon living in Myeik Township, Thanintharyi Region said that if there was an ethnic Mon affairs minister in the Thanintharyi Region Government it would be very good for the Mon people in the region.
He said: “Some Mon people from our area have to live as refugees. If we have an ethnic Mon minister in our region it will make family registration and getting ID easier. Also, [Mon] literature and culture will become more widespread and the economic situation [for Mon people] would improve.”
Community Based Organisations. (CBOs) started collecting Mon population data in Thanintharyi Region in December 2013 and issued the results of the survey in December 2014.
A similar survey of Mon people has been carried out in Yangon region where, at present, there is no ethnic Mon minister. The results of that survey have not yet been announced.
Translated by Aung Myat Soe English version written by Mark Inkey for BNI