Camp For Rohingya Muslim Refugees
Rohingya women sit and squat in front of tents at a camp for those displaced by recent violence, outside Sittwe Reuters

Tensions are mounting in Myanmar after the government decided to revoke ID cards for the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Many Rohingya are reluctant to give back their temporary identification cards, known as white cards, not knowing whether they are going to receive any identification document in return, Reuters reported.

The Rohingya live predominantly in camps in the western Rakhine state. The cards entitle them to vote and to access education and health services.

However, they are still barred from civil service jobs and some degree courses.

"Any attempts to enforce the order to surrender the cards could spark violence," said Richard Horsey, a Yangon-based independent political analyst.

The Burmese government has been often accused of failing to help the Rohingya integrate, with the UN warning that the community, originally from Bangladesh, is one of the most persecuted minorities in the world.

Myanmar refuses to give citizenship to the Rohingya, claiming that they are Bengali.

The government's revocation of the white cards came a few months after reports emerged that dozens of Rohingya were beaten by the authorities for refusing to register as Bengali immigrants.

At the beginning of February the government condemned the UN for using the word "Rohingya" to describe the country's persecuted minority.

"Use of such term by the United Nations would certainly draw strong resentment of the people of Myanmar making the government's efforts more difficult in addressing the issue," the ministry said.

"Selectivity is often exercised. On some occasions, interfering on issues which fall within state sovereignty and domestic jurisdiction is evident."

Violence against Myanmar's Muslims has intensified over the past years, incited by extremist monks and the anti-Muslim '969' campaign, which urges Buddhists to stop interacting with the Rohingya and boycott their businesses.

More than 230 people have been killed in religious violence in Myanmar since June 2012 and more than 140,000 have been displaced.

A New York Times short documentary, broadcast in June 2013, showed how Myanmar authorities confine the Rohingya to "quasi-concentration camps" or to their own villages, with reduced/minimal access to medical care and education.