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Reading: Myanmar’s Democratic Transition: Peril or Promise for the Stateless Rohingya?


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Myanmar’s Democratic Transition: Peril or Promise for the Stateless Rohingya?


Katherine G. Southwick

Research Associate, National University of Singapore
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Myanmar’s recent reforms have opened an uncertain chapter in the history of the Rohingya, a Muslim minority group representing one of the world’s most protracted cases of statelessness. Perceived by some as illegal Bengali migrants, for decades the Rohingya have suffered discrimination, forced labour, and campaigns of violence and displacement. Over a million subsist as refugees or undocumented migrants in other countries. This paper reviews the history of the Rohingya in Myanmar, including recent violence and living conditions of those inside and outside the country. Against this background, the paper considers how Myanmar’s political and economic reforms present opportunities for the government and international actors to alleviate and ultimately resolve the plight of the Rohingya. Guided by national and international laws, a strategy could emphasise ensuring security, upholding rights, particularly equal rights to citizenship, and promoting broad-based economic development, all in a nondiscriminatory manner.
How to Cite: Southwick KG, ‘Myanmar’s Democratic Transition: peril or Promise for the Stateless Rohingya?’ (2014) 19 Tilburg Law Review 261 DOI:
Published on 01 Jan 2014.
Peer Reviewed


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