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Securitization of Rohingyas in Myanmar: Analysis of Refugee Crisis

In absence of a serious academic study on the securitization of ‘Rohingyas’, this area has remained unfold. To do this study I have reviewed national and international literatures on Rohingya refugee crisis in Myanmar. Among the reviewed literature, some major findings can be illustrated which are more relevant with my study.

In the book “The Plight of the Stateless Rohingyas: Responses of the State, Society & the International Community”, Imtiaz Ahmed discussed that the Rohingya refugee crisis has emerged as the key challenge in Bangladesh- Myanmar relations and continues to be an unmanageable bar in establishing any sustainable relations between these two nations. He said that Rohingyas are basically ethno- linguistic and religious minority Muslims belonging to no state since the Myanmar government denied their very identity. After the 1962 military takeover, however, they were systematically denied their civil, political, economic and social rights, which were ultimately legalised through the controversial Citizenship act. Why this discrimination? The Myanmar government views Rohingyas as Muslim migrants from neighbouring East Bengal which is now Bangladesh and settled in Myanmar during the period. The junta governments in Myanmar adopted repressive policies against Rohingyas and treated them as strangers in their own land (Ahmed, 2010).

M. Jashim Uddin has done a study titled “Prospects for Attaining a New Height in Bangladesh-Myanmar Relations” which focus on the prospects for attaining a new height in Bangladesh-Myanmar relations. He found that both Bangladesh and Myanmar have failed to best utilise their proximity and historical ties for economic and strategic gains. Since the establishment of the diplomatic tie in 1972, the relations have not always been smooth due to lack of political will. He focused on the Rohingya refugee issue which resulted in tensions in border considered as one of the key impediments to a meaningful bilateral relation. Undoubtedly, the influx of Rohingya refugees is the key dispute that has spill over impact on other issues. Here, the crisis having both security and humanitarian concerns has emerged as a dilemma for Bangladesh (Uddin, 2014).

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In “Non-Traditional Security and Problems of Rohingya across Bangladesh-Myanmar Borders”, another scholar named Syeda Naushin Parnini consummated an analysis on non-traditional Security and problems of Rohingyas across Bangladesh-Myanmar Borders. He opines that the Rohingya issue remains one of the main challenges for cooperation between Bangladesh and Myanmar. The stability and security between the two bordering cities of Bangladesh and Myanmar, namely Teknaf and Maungdaw between the Naf River, is affected by the influx of Rohingyas from Myanmar to Bangladesh. The security in the border areas is prerequisite for enhancing trade and connectivity between the countries. Since 1978, the Rohingya issue has been hampering cooperation (Parnini, 2012).

Eileen Chong Pei Shan claimed that the revisionist version promoted by Burmese intelligentsia has erased the historical background of Rohingya communities. All the proofs required to join the nationality of Myanmar have always been rejected by the official authorities. For this reason, Rohingya people have been rendered stateless, in clear violation to the Art.15 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Thus, these communities in the last 30 years have been subjects to restrictions of movements, forced labours and other persecutions, whose first and natural victims are the weakest categories of the population, namely women and children. The response by the international community has lacked for many years. The neighbour countries where waves of refugees had landed gave asylum only to a little percentage of them, forcing the remaining ones to live in crumbling illegal camps, denied of all the basic services. In the last months anyway the humanitarian emergence of the so-called “boat-people” that were drowning in the Indian Ocean, has forced the public opinion and the international community to intervene (Pei Shan, 2017).

All these studies make a field for my research. Although these studies focus on Rohingya crisis, its causes and impact, but none of them specifically analyse the securitization of Rohingyas. I see that there is lack of research on the securitization of ‘Rohingyas’ in Myanmar. So, I feel very interested to conduct a research on this selected area. The lack of research also justifies this work. It would be a great opportunity for me to add an academic research work on securitization of Rohingyas in contemporary era.

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