Guest Speaker: Nasir Uddin,University of Chittagong
The Rohingyas, widely known as the most persecuted people in the world, have recently encountered thousands of indiscriminate killings, hundreds of horrific raping and random burning of hundreds of villages perpetrated by the Myanmar security forces and extremist Buddhist nationalists in what the United Nations Human Rights Council termed ‘a textbook example of ethnic cleansing’. In the name of counter-insurgency operations, Myanmar security forces committed an unprecedented violence which forced more than 600,000 Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh in addition to existing 500,000, which created ‘the biggest refugee crises’ and ‘a humanitarian catastrophe’ in the near past. The intensity of brutality and the degree of atrocity was so dreadful that many international rights bodies (Amnesty International, and Human Rights Watch) and acclaimed media outlets (Al Zajeera, The New York Times, ABC News, BBC, and CNN) called it “genocide”.
Why the Rohingyas experience genocide, ethnic cleansing and critical refugee situation is due to their stateless identity in Myanmar apart from their ethno-linguistic and religious difference from the national majority. The Rohingyas were made stateless in 1982 enacting ‘Myanmar Citizenship Law’ which legally rendered them non-citizens; a vulnerable category belonging to no state. In that sense, the Rohingyas are non-existent human beings as they do not exist in the legal framework of any state. Therefore, they frequently experience persecution, atrocities and everyday forms of discrimination as they are dealt with as if they are less than human beings, in what Uddin prefers to phrase as ‘sub-human’. This talk, with empirically grounded evidences and recent experiences of ethnic cleansing, genocide, and refugee situation, will focus on the plight of Rohingyas in the borderland of Myanmar and Bangladesh
Nasir Uddin is a cultural anthropologist based in Bangladesh and a professor of anthropology at the University of Chittagong. His research interests include statelessness and refugee studies; human rights and non-citizens; indigeneity and identity politics; the state in everyday life; the politics of marginality and vulnerability; and borderlands and border people, particularly those of Bangladesh and Myanmar, the Chittagong Hill Tracts, and South Asia. His publications include To Host or To Hurt: Counter-narratives on the Rohingya (Refugees) in Bangladesh (2012); Life in Peace and Conflict: Indigeneity and State in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (2017) and Indigeneity on the Move: Varying Manifestation of a Contested Concept (2017). Currently he is working on a monograph, the Rohingyas: A Tale of Sub-Human (2018).