Thar Zin Paing (14) just received his ID-card with assistance from NRC .-
Thar Zin Paing (Su’s cousin) (14)
Ethnic group: Moken
“It is important to have the card, because then I can travel anywhere I want.”
“I want to go to Thailand.”
“I need the ID-card to work.”
“I want to study sports. I want to become a football player.”
On the island of Ma San Par, 45 minutes’ speed boat drive from the southeastern city of Myeik, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), in collaboration with local authorities, distributed ID-cards to 90 children above the age of 10 on 24 March 2017.
In southeastern Myanmar, NRC is working together with the authorities to give people information about the importance of civil documentation and, together with the Ministry of Immigration, distributing ID-cards to those who do not have it. With the ID-card, they have access to secondary education and public services such medical services and the possibility of opening a bank account. People who travel without an ID-card in Myanmar risk being arrested or harassed, and through issuing the cards to those who does not have them, NRC improves freedom of movement. By liaising with both ethnic non state actors and government officials, we contribute to building confidence in the peace process.
The people who need ID-cards have been living in areas affected by conflict, displacement, isolation and overall lack of protection. Some have lived in areas controlled by ethnic armed groups, where the government has not reached them.
Without the ID-card, the Moken people would remain marginalised and their children would have fewer opportunities and less access to basic rights.
Myanmar – the context
After fifty years of military rule, Myanmar welcomed a new era of democracy and reform with its first civilian elections in 2015. However, the newly formed government still faces the same issues as before.
Known as the “longest running civil war,” Myanmar has been tormented by internal conflicts led by ethnic groups struggling for representation since the country’s independence in 1948. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced in the decades-long conflict. Every day, people are being displaced by violence, leaving everything they own behind. Years of fighting have forced many to flee over and over again.
Since late 2011, the government has signed ceasefire deals with the majority of ethnic armed groups in the country, and in October 2015, the government negotiated a nationwide ceasefire agreement with eight of the largest ethnic armed groups. Still, some groups have refused to sign the agreement, and they continue negotiating with the government.
In addition to conflict, disasters and, increasingly climate change are forcing people in Myanmar to flee their homes.
In Myanmar, NRC helps displaced people and people affected by conflict through building disaster-resistant schools and wells, providing civil documentation, youth education and camp coordination. We have been working in the country since 2008 and all of our activities are managed from seven field offices within the Southeast Region, Kachin and Rakhine States.
We are working for people in Myanmar to have the right to education, work and property, so that they can live safe and independent lives.
Photo: NRC/Ingrid Prestetun