Nation-State and Its Production of Statelessness: A Study of Chin Refugees
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The South Asian states do not have proper conventions and laws for refugees, immigrants or stateless people. The borders of the states and their institutions are not strict in not accepting immigrants; rather the borders are more or less known to be porous in the region due to its sharing of boundaries with each other. It is in the neighbouring countries where stateless people seek asylum by entering through illegal ways or accepting them as asylum seekers. Once refugees or outsiders enter the asylum state then the laws and rights convene according to its constitution or international conventions signed by the asylum state. It is at the convenience of asylum state; whether it prefers to build camps or construct sites for refugees for their stay. However, refugees stay in a country for a longer time until the situation of their origin country comes back to normal and accepts them as citizens. This leads to a question that Hannah Arendt addresses of either repatriation or naturalisation. If any of these processes is accepted by states of either origin or state of asylum for the moment then the larger question still remains, how these states will comply with giving citizenship. It may again declare the same people as non-citizens or aliens and create them stateless, and perpetuates a vicious cycle of statelessness in South Asian states. The people living as stateless remain in camps for years and their situation never improves in the interplay of state and citizens. There are many counter arguments of cosmopolitan citizenship or democratisation of borders (Balibar), on the other hand a radical argument of eating others’ share (Ranciere). How then does one address the complicated situation of refugees like Chin living in India in camps, rented rooms and apartments with UNHCR identity? The refugees require certain rights and laws for existence rather than living as stateless or without any representation. It is in this regard that the nation-state is the authority in creation of stateless people (Arendt) and in contemporary times the only authority to accept them as citizens.
KeywordsCitizenship Chins Myanmar Rights Border State
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