Crisis in Myanmar and Bangladesh: Sociocultural Underpinnings and Political Barriers to the 2016-2018 Rohingya Ethnic Cleansing

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Jordan Richmond (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Roberto Campo

Abstract: 2018 University Libraries Undergraduate Research Award Winner---On October 9, 2016, armed residents of Rakhine, Myanmar ambushed three Border Guard posts, triggering a massive military backlash against the local Rohingya population. United Nations human rights chief Zeid Ra‘ad al-Hussein has described the military's actions as a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing," and nearly 1.04 million Rohingya have sought refuge in neighboring Bangladesh since the crisis erupted. This scope of violence and displacement begs the following questions: are there underlying social causes to the 2016-2018 Rohingya ethnic cleansing crisis beyond the October 9, 2016 ambush, and if so, how can these underlying social causes inform appropriate solutions moving forward? Further, what political barriers stand in the way of resolution? Utilizing a qualitative research analysis this project identified which social causes have contributed to the current crisis’s emergence: 1) periods of political turnover from 1784 to 1826, 2) the historical tension between Buddhist and Muslim communities in Rakhine, and 3) the military’s functional defense of the Burmese-Buddhist identity. Using these findings, this project then evaluates the 2017 bilateral repatriation agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh, concluding that the agreement is insufficient to address underlying social causes to the crisis, and argues that future relief efforts rather should prioritize local, aid-based solutions and humanitarian concerns in Bangladesh.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2018
Rohingya, ethnic cleansing, refugee, migration, Myanmar, Bangladesh, genocide

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