Citizenship Law

   In October 1982, the Pyithu Hluttaw passed a Citizenship Law that distinguished among three types of Burmese citizen: full, associate, and naturalized. Those persons whose ancestors resided in Burma (in the law's wording) "anterior to B.E. 1185, 1823 A.D." were recognized as full citizens, while associate citizens were the descendants of people who arrived in Burma after that date. The measure appears to have been directed at persons of Indian (South Asian) ancestry who settled in Burma during the British colonial period. The law gave the State Council the authority to determine which ethnic groups had "national" (full citizen) status. The ethnic identity of individuals was determined by a "Central Body" whose head was the Minister of Home Affairs, with appeal to the Council of Ministers. Ethnicity, along with religion, is included in each Burmese citizen's national identity card.
   The law implied that full political rights, including the right to hold state or Burma Socialist Programme Party offices, were conferred only on full citizens of indigenous ancestry, disenfranchising Burmese of South Asian, Chinese, or other descent. Interestingly, Article 15(a) stated that a citizen would not automatically lose his or her citizenship by marrying a foreigner, meaning that charges by State Law and Order Restoration Council spokesmen that Aung San Suu Kyi, by marrying British citizen Michael Aris, was no longer a Burmese national, were groundless.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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