Advertisement

The State, Vulnerability, and Transborder Movements: The Rohingya People in Myanmar and Bangladesh

  • Nasir UddinEmail author
Chapter

Abstract

This chapter is about the plight of “stateless” people, not recognised as nationals by any state, albeit the state in various forms regulates their everyday life committing severe injustice and practicing various inequalities by producing illegibility in state structure. In fact, the structure of modern nation-state has produced the concept of statelessness and non-citizens though the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) confirms that “everyone has the right to a nationality.” Since the state of statelessness confirms people belonging to no state, they cannot claim any rights from states though the International Refugee Convention (1951), the Convention relating to the Status of Stateless People (1954) and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) confirm the rights of even non-citizens. Nonetheless, the lives of stateless people that include non-citizens, refugees or asylum seekers can easily become subject to injustice, inequality, discrimination and illegibility and is even subject to death. The treatment of stateless people as “illegal” human bodies is as what George Agamben termed “bare life”; a life is “bare” because it does not exist “before the law”. This chapter examines such a group of stateless people known as the Rohingya living in Myanmand and Bangladesh beneath the intricate relations of migration, statelessness and vulnerability.

The Rohingya people became stateless soon after Myanmar in 1982 enacted its Citizenship Law which conferred to 135 nationals as its citizens excluding the Rohingya. Since then many Rohingya people migrated to Bangladesh in large scale though the influx started from 1978. The Rohingya people in Bangladesh are now under “biometric” database officially termed as “forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals” but not even refugees due mainly to their state of statelessness as they do not belong to any state. In the framework of modern nation-state, the Rohingya people are non-existent human beings as they are in nowhere in the legal framework of both Bangladesh and Myanmar. However, the Rohingya people experience persecution, atrocities and everyday forms of discrimination committed by the state despite their stateless identity. With empirically informed analysis, this chapter explains how the vulnerability is (re)produced in the lives of refugees due to their statelessness when transborder movement has become the general features of twenty-first-century state system in the name of “global society.”

Keywords

Transborder Rohingya Myanmar Bangladesh Statelessness Vulnerability 

Bibliography

  1. Agamben, G. (1998). Homo sacer: Sovereign power and bare life (D. Heller-Roazen, Trans.). Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Ahmed, A. (Ed.). (2014). The plight of the stateless Rohingyas. Dhaka: University Press Limited.Google Scholar
  3. Arendt, H. (1994). The origins of totalitarianism. New York: Harcourt Books.Google Scholar
  4. Asad, T. (2004). Where are the margins of the state? In V. Das & D. Poole (Eds.), Anthropology in the margins of the state (pp. 279–288). New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Banerjee, P., Anasua, C., & Atig, G. (Eds.). (2016). The state of being stateless: An account of South Asia. New Delhi: Orient BlackSwan.Google Scholar
  6. Benhabib, S. (2004). The rights of others: Aliens, residents and citizens. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Brass, P. R. (1997). Theft of an idol: Text and context in the representation of collective violence. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Butler, J. (2004). The precarious life: The power of mourning and violence. London/New York: VERSO.Google Scholar
  9. Dalton, D. (2008). Economic migrants: People on the move. London: PawPrints.Google Scholar
  10. Das, V., & Poole, D. (Eds.). (2004). Anthropology in the margins of the state. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Elahi, K. M. (1987). The Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh: Historical perspectives and consequences. In J. Rogge (Ed.), Refugees: A third world dilemma. USA: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
  12. Ferguson, J. (1994). The anti-politics machine: “Development”, depoliticization and bureaucratic power in lesotho. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  13. Fineman, M. (2008). The vulnerable subject: Anchoring equality in the human condition. Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, 2(1), 1–23.Google Scholar
  14. Foucault, M. (1976). The history of sexuality (Vol. 1). Boston: Vantage Books.Google Scholar
  15. Green, P., & Ward, T. (2004). State crime: Governments, violence and corruption. London: Pluto Press.Google Scholar
  16. Green, P., MacManus, T., & de la Cour Venning, A. (2015). Countdown annihilation: Genocide in Myanmar. London: International State Crime Initiative.Google Scholar
  17. Gupta, A. (1995). Blurred boundaries: The discourse of corruption, the culture of politics and the imagined state. American Ethnologist, 22(2), 375–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Gupta, A. (2012). Red tape: Bureaucracy, structural violence and poverty in India. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Hossain, D. (2014). Tracing the plight of the Rohingyas. In I. Ahmed (Ed.), The plight of the stateless Rohingyas (pp. 09–35). Dhaka: University Press Limited.Google Scholar
  20. Howard-Hassmann, & Walton-Roberts. (2015). The human rights to citizenship: A slippery concept. Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ibrahim, A. (2016). The Rohingyas: Inside Myanmar’s hidden genocide. London: Hurts Publication.Google Scholar
  22. Jain, P., & Oommen, G. (Eds.). (2016). South Asian migration to gulf countries: History, policies and development. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  23. Kesby, A. (2012). The rights to have rights: Citizenships, humanity and international law. Oxford: The Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Kohn, N. (2014). Vulnerability theory and the roles of government. Yale Journal of Law and Feminism, 26(1), 01–27.Google Scholar
  25. Larking, E. (2014). Refugees and the myth of human rights: Life outside the pale of the law. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Lorey, I. (2015). State of insecurity: Government of the precarious (A. Derieg, Trans.). London/New York: VERSO.Google Scholar
  27. Nugent, W. (1995). Crossings: The great transatlantic migrations (pp. 1870–1914). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.Google Scholar
  28. Povinelli, E. (2016). Geontologies: A requiem to late liberalism. Durham: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Sharma, A., & Gupta, A. (Eds.). (2006). The anthropology of the state: A reader. USA, UK and Australia: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
  30. Siddiqui, T. (2016). International labour migrations and remittances. In A. Riaz & M. Rahman (Eds.), Routledge handbook of contemporary Bangladesh. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  31. Taran, P. (2011). Globalization, migration and labour: Imperatives for a rights based policy. Journal of Globalization Studies, 2(1), 58–77.Google Scholar
  32. Taylor, P. J. (1994). The state as container: Territoriality in the modern world-system. Progress in Human Geography, 18(2), 151–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Triandafyllidou, A. (2013). Circular migration between Europe and its neighbourhood: Choice or necessity. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Uddin, N. (2010). Treatment of unwelcome guests: A case of Rohingya refugee in Bangladesh. The paper presented at an international conference on Political Economy of South Asian Migrants organized by South Asian Regional Formation Research Society held on November 24–26, the University of Delhi, India.Google Scholar
  35. Uddin, N. (2012a). Of hosting and hurting: Crises in co-existence with Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh. In N. Uddin (Ed.), To host or to hurt: Counter narratives on Rohingya refugee issue in Bangladesh (pp. 83–98). Dhaka: Institute for Culture and Development Research (ICDR).Google Scholar
  36. Uddin, N. (Ed.). (2012b). To host or to hurt: Counter narratives on Rohingya refugee issue in Bangladesh. Dhaka: Institute for Culture and Development Research (ICDR).Google Scholar
  37. Uddin, N. (2015). The state of statelessness people: A case of the Rohingya refugess in Bangladesh. In Howard-Hassmann & Walton-Roberts (Eds.), The human rights to citizenship: A slippery concept (pp. 62–77). Philadelphia: The University of Pennsylvania Press.Google Scholar
  38. Uddin, N. (2018a). Life in everyday death: A case of Rohingyas. In Berkeley centre for global religion. Washington, DC: Georgetown University.Google Scholar
  39. Uddin, N. (2018b). The state matters: The Rohingyas in home state and host state. An unpublished research monography.Google Scholar
  40. Uddin, N. (2019 [Forthcoming]). The Rohingyas: A case of “Subhuman”. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  41. Uddin, N., & Gerharz, E. (2017). The many faces of the state: Living in peace and conflict in the Chittagong Hill Tracts, Bangladesh. Society and Conflict, 2(1). in press.Google Scholar
  42. Wade, F. (2017). Myanmar’s enemy within: Buddhist violence and the making of a muslim ‘other’. London: ZED Books.Google Scholar
  43. Weiner, M. (1993). Rejected peoples and unwanted migrants in South Asia. Economic and Political Weekly, 18(34), 1737–1746.Google Scholar
  44. Wetherly, P. (2005). Marxism and the state: An analytical approach. New York: Palgrave McMillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zarni, M., & Cowley, A. (2014). Slow-burning genocide of Myanmar’s Rohingyas. Pacific Rim Law & Policy Journal, 23(30), 683–754.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologyUniversity of ChittagongChittagongBangladesh

Personalised recommendations