In Myanmar we have lots of illegal immigrants from neigh boring countries, settling in the border areas of the west and east parts of Myanmar. For generations, they have been living in Myanmar territory together with our ethnic groups. The ethnic people are hospitable and friendly so the relationship between the ethnic people and the migrants is harmonious for several years. The successive governments of Myanmar have generously accepted those immigrants on humanitarian ground and even then they were given opportunity to get the citizenship of Myanmar in accordance with the law. In 1982, Burma Citizenship Law was enacted for the sake of those who had settled down on Myanmar soil and made a living honestly. Since then, many more immigrants from neighboring countries have been awarded Myanmar citizenship in line with the provisions stipulated in 1982 Burma Citizenship Law.
These days, we Myanmar people are more aware of the duties and qualifications of citizens and the illegal immigrants flocking into Myanmar from west and east borders of Myanmar. As for those who are Foreign journalists, INGO, Staff of UN Agencies working in Myanmar, they might eagerly want to know what provisions are contained in the existing Burma Citizenship Law of 1982. In addition, we Myanmar people exhort Foreign journalists, INGO, Staff of UN Agencies working in Myanmar to learn the existing Burma Citizenship Law of 1982 thoroughly so as to attain the clear vision or knowledge about the process of application for the citizenship of Myanmar.
The following is an excerpt from Burma Citizenship Law of 1982.
Burma Citizenship Law
Chapter IV Naturalized Citizenship
Section 42. Persons who have entered and resided in the State prior to 4th January,1948,and their children born within the State may , if they have not yet applied under the Union Citizenship Act, 1948, apply for naturalized citizenship to the Central Body, furnishing conclusive evidence.
Section 43. The following persons, born in or outside the state, from the date this law comes into force, may apply for naturalized citizenship:_
(a) persons born of parents, one of whom is a citizen and the other a foreigner;
(b) persons born of parents, one of whom is an associate citizen and the other a naturalized citizen;
(c) persons born of parents, one of whom is an associate citizen and the other a foreigner;
(d) persons born of parents, both of whom are naturalized citizens;
(e) persons born of parents, one of whom is a naturalized citizen and the other a foreigner.
Section 44. An applicant for naturalized citizenship shall have the following qualifications:—
(a) be a person who conforms to the provisions of section 42 or section 43:
(b) have completed the age of eighteen years;
(c) be able to speak well one of the national languages;
(d) be of good character;
(e) be of sound mind.
Section 45. A person married to a citizen or to an associate citizen or to a naturalized citizen, who is holding a Foreigner’s Registration Certificate, prior to the date this Law comes into force, shall have the following qualifications to apply for naturalized citizenship:–
(a) have completed the age of eighteen years;
(b) be of good character;
(c) be of sound mind;
(d) be the only husband or wife;
(e) have resided continuously in the State for at least three years as the lawful wife or husband.
(a) A person who has been determined as a naturalized citizen by the Central Body shall appear in person before an organization prescribed by the Ministry of Home Affairs, and shall make an affirmation in writing that he owes allegiance to the State, that he will respect and abide by the laws of the State and that he is aware of the prescribed duties and rights.
(b) A person, holding a Foreigner’s Registration Certificate, on being determined as a naturalized citizen by the Central Body, shall appear in person before an organization prescribed by the Ministry of Home Affairs and shall make an affirmation in writing that be renounces his foreign citizenship that he owes allegiance to the State, that he will respect and abide by the laws of the State and that he is aware of the prescribed duties and rights.
Section 47. The Central Body may include in the certificate of naturalized citizenship the names of children mentioned in the application. The child whose name is so included is a naturalized citizen.
Section 48. The child whose name is included under section 47, and who has completed the age of eighteen years shall make an affirmation in accordance with sub-section (a) of section 46, along with the parents.
The revocation of naturalized citizenship is prescribed in Chapter IV, section 58 in Burma Citizenship Law of 1982 as follows: —
Section 58. The Central Body may revoke the naturalized citizenship of a person if he infringes any of the following provisions:–
(a) trading or communicating with enemy countries or with countries assisting the enemy country, or with citizens or organizations of such countries during a war in which the State is engaged, or abetting such an act;
(b) trading or communicating with an organization, or with a member of such organization which is hostile to the State, or abetting such an act;
(c) committing an act likely to endanger the sovereignty and security of the State or public peace and tranquility or giving rise to the reasonable belief that he is about to commit such an act;
(d) showing disaffection or disloyalty to the State by any act or speech or otherwise;
(e) giving information relating to a State secret to any person, or to any organization, or to any other country or countries, or abetting such an act;
(f) committing an offence involving moral turpitude for which he has been sentenced to imprisonment for a minimum term of one year or to a minimum fine of kyats one thousand.
Hopefully, all the Myanmar citizens as well as foreign journalists, INGO, Staff of UN Agencies working in Myanmar will comprehend the provisions contained in Burma Citizenship Law of 1982. This existing law will be very helpful for us to tackle the issues or controversy related to the attainment of Myanmar citizenship.
- The Guardian newspaper issued on 16 October 1982
- “Burma Citizenship Law” (Pyithu Hluttaw Law No 4 /1982) English Myanmar language
By: Tommy Pauk