Six men have been charged over printing a 2016 calendar which used the term Rohingya, leading to condemnation from a prominent human rights organisation.
The calendar, printed in November of this year, referred to Rohingya as an ethnic group of Burma, and was printed in three languages – Burmese, English and Arabic. In all several hundred copies of the calendar were produced.
Following the publication of the calendar, Burmese authorities raided the home of one of the men and arrested five others with violating the Printing and Publishing Enterprise Law.
Fortify Rights; a human rights organisation based in South East Asia said that the six men face up to two years in prison based on their current charges.
“These charges are absurd. This appears to be part of a campaign to strike the term ‘Rohingya’ from the country’s vocabulary,” Matthew Smith, executive director of Fortify Rights said in a statement to the press, “There is no justifiable reason to restrict the use of the term ‘Rohingya.’”
Burmese authorities have placed harsh restrictions on the movement of Rohingya people, a Muslim ethnic minority, including forcing them into segregated camps, nor does the government recognise Rohingya as part of Burma’s citizenry.
In last year’s census, Rohingya was not a term available to citizens wishing to express what ethnic minority they belonged to, leading to widespread international criticism.