Myanmar releases voter app criticised for Rohingya label
After campaign group Justice for Myanmar said last week the app risked inflaming nationalism, a website shared by the election commission directing people to download it went offline and a mobile version was not available.
But the mobile app has been available to download since Saturday with candidates’ race and religion data listed, and that of their parents, and a web version is also accessible.
Pierre Michel, public diplomacy adviser to the EU’s Myanmar mission, said the EU had “strongly advocated for the removal of all controversial data that could lead to discrimination and exclusion”, declining to comment further.
The Union Election Commission (UEC) did not answer telephone calls seeking comment.
The app was developed by the election commission, with support from STEP Democracy, an EU-funded project implemented in Myanmar by the Sweden-based International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (International IDEA), and the US-based Asia Foundation.
Donors have sought to distance themselves from the app, saying the UEC is solely responsible for its content and removing social media posts detailing their involvement.
Marcus Brand, the country director of International IDEA, said the organisation regretted “that any candidates have been targeted, harassed or attacked over their ethnicity or religious affiliation” but said the declaration of ethnicity and religion was an integral part of Myanmar’s electoral process.
He said he had been informed the candidate disqualification was “not related to the app or the current controversy”.