It’s Not Only about Illegal Migration & International Law: The Uighur Conundrum

21 July 2016; by Siegfried O. Wolf

Image by mike.benedetti

There is much media attention on Thailand’s latest deportation of more than 100 Uighur back to China, which was officially confirmed on 9 July 2015. The asylum seekers which entered the South East Asian country illegally got subsequently detained by the Thai immigration authorities and held in custody for over a year. In order to find a solution, the Royal Thai government finally decided to hand them over to China ‘under the agreement that their safety is guaranteed according to humanitarian principles’. Nevertheless, Bangkok had to face immense criticism by the international community, especially through human rights organisations and the United Nations. UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection, Volker Türk, proclaimed he is considering the deportation of the Uighurs as ‘a flagrant violation of international law’. Additionally, in several countries such as Turkey and Germany, remarkable protests broke out not only to express solidarity with the Uighurs but also to formulate grievances about the manner in which deportation was carried out.

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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?”

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”