Forced Migration in the South Asian Region:
Displacement, Human Rights and Conflict Resolution"
Paper submitted for publication in a book edited by Omprakash Mishra on "Forced Migration in South Asian Region", Centre for Refugee studies Jadavpur University, Calcutta and Brookings Institution Project on Internal Displacement.
"In the eyes of the media and the general public, whether in Bangladesh or further afield, the situation of the Rohingya from Burma[ii] is usually referred to as a ?refugee problem?. Over the last two decades, Bangladesh has born the brunt of two mass exoduses, each of more then 200,000 people, placing them among the largest in Asia. Each of these massive outflows of refugees was followed by mass repatriation to Burma. Repatriation has been considered the preferred solution to the refugee crisis. However, this has not proved a durable solution, since the influx of Rohingyas over international borders has never ceased. And it is unlikely that it will stop, so long as the root causes of this unprecedented exodus are not effectively remedied. The international community has often focussed its attention on the deplorable conditions in the refugee camps in Bangladesh, rather than on the root causes of the problem, namely the denial of legal status and other basic human rights to the Rohingya in Burma. This approach doubtless stems from the practical difficulty of confronting an intractable military regime which refuses to recognise the Rohingya as citizens of Burma, and of working out solutions acceptable to all parties involved. The actual plight and continuous exodus of the Rohingya people has been rendered invisible. Though they continue to cross international borders, they are also denied the right of asylum, being labelled ?economic migrants?. The international community has preferred to ignore the extent of this massive forced migration, which has affected not only Bangladesh, but also other countries such as Pakistan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, etc...
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