Rohingya Crisis and the ‘Boat People’ Conference: Towards a Regional Solution?

18 June 2015; by Siegfried O. Wolf

Image by European Commission DG ECHO

To respond to the ‘alarming rise in the irregular movement of persons in the Indian Ocean’, the Royal Thai Government organized the ‘Special Meeting on Irregular Migration in the Indian Ocean’ on May 29th, 2015 in Bangkok. Subsequently seventeen countries convened in Thailand’s capital to address the then called ‘boat people problem’ in the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal. Among the participants [1]were high-level representatives of the five most affected countries namely Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand. The fact that Sri Lanka, India as well as Afghanistan joined this significant event underpins the fact that the ‘boat people’ crisis is an issue which involves not only the intersection between South Asia and South East Asia but also the respective subcontinents on the whole. Continue reading “Rohingya Crisis and the ‘Boat People’ Conference: Towards a Regional Solution?”

India-Bangladesh Relations: Torn between religious extremism?

18 July 2014; by Siegfried O. Wolf
Source: SADF Bulletin Think South Asia, No. 14, South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF), Brussels; Belgium, pp. 11-13.

Aside significant changes in the foreign policies of Bangladesh and India since gaining independence in 1971, two major keystones can be identified: First, Dhaka’s concerns regarding India’s intention to establish itself as a regional hegemon. Second, New Delhi’s worry that Bangladesh is in the midst of turning into a hub for militancy, supporting separatism in India as well as serving as a sanctuary for Islamic fundamentalism which could destabilize the whole region. As such, the bilateral relations between these two South Asian countries have always been strained. Continue reading “India-Bangladesh Relations: Torn between religious extremism?”

The Rohingyas Crisis: A Security Perspective from Bangladesh

21 May 2014, by Siegfried O. Wolf
Source: APSA Comment, No. 11, Foundation for Applied Political Science of South Asia (APSA), Heidelberg, Germany.

Historically the Rohingyas are a religious-ethnic community residing in Myanmar. However, since the 1970s the then military regime of the predominantly Buddhist state decided to contest the citizenship status of this marginalised Muslim minority which resulted in their persecution and expulsion to neighbouring countries. The huge number of refugees created complex challenges and threat perceptions for the whole region but especially for neighbouring Bangladesh. Due to the reluctance of the Government of Bangladesh (GoB) to grant the Rohingyas refugee status only a minority of them live in official refugee camps; to date the bulk (more than 500,000) of the Rohingyas are living in unregistered camps. Continue reading “The Rohingyas Crisis: A Security Perspective from Bangladesh”