Ethnic political parties urge inclusion of diaspora in census
18 December 2013: Ethnic political parties in Burma say that citizens living in foreign countries must also be counted when taking a census scheduled for next year.
Leaders of the United Nationalities Alliance (UNA) and the Nationalities Brotherhood Federation (NBF) said that the census should include family members not only in the country but also abroad.
They said that at least names and country of residence could be collected, but not sensitive personal data, for reasons of security.
Salai Ceu Bik Thawng, General Secretary of the Chin National Party (CNP), an NBF member, said that about 200,000 Chins of Burmese citizenship are estimated to be living in foreign countries.
He also said that there are over 400,000 Chins in Chin State, with around 600,000 in other parts of Burma, according to the estimates.
“Currently, political elections are based on population. I would like to urge each Chin individual overseas to participate in the census,” said Thawng.
The NBF had also urged collaboration with community-based organizations in the census process, and to prepare necessary guidelines and questions in a clear and transparent format in order to help citizens understand.
With the help of the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF, formerly the United Nations Fund for Population Activities), other countries and organizations, Burma is set to take its first census since 1983, in March 2014.
According to the joint statement by UNA and NBF, 53 delegates from 22 ethnic political parties held a meeting yesterday with the UNFPA, discussing the 2014 Population and Housing Census.
The NBF, previously called the Nationalities Brotherhood Forum, an alliance of ethnic political parties, gave an indication that they might create a Federal Union Party (FUP) to run in the 2015 General Election, according to their meeting earlier this year.
The UNA is a coalition of ethnic political parties that constested and won seats in the 1990 General Election.#