Leave No One Behind – But What About the ‘Scum of the Earth’? : A Discourse Analysis Based on Theories by Arendt and Agamben on Rohingya and Statelessness

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Statsvetenskapliga institutionen

Abstract: The aim of this study is to understand the situation of Rohingya through the concept of statelessness and to illustrate the importance of citizenship in relation to human rights. The Rohingya minority has for a long period of time been victims of violence and discrimination by the Myanmar government and military. In 1982, all Rohingyas were deprived their Myanmar citizenship through a domestic law, which is in conflict with international human rights law. Various military operations, attacks, and attempts have been made to drive the Rohingya population out of the country. Consequently, as of 2019, nearly one million stateless Rohingyas are living in overcrowded camps in neighbouring Bangladesh. By applying the philosophical understandings and conceptualisations of Hannah Arendt and Giorgio Agamben, this study seeks answers to how it is possible to perform such acts of breaching human rights. Furthermore, a number of official conventions and principles are analysed to seek answers to how the international community are obligated to act prior, during, and after atrocities on humanity are performed. The main findings of this study are that these acts of violence have been possible due to the Rohingya populations’ statelessness. The sustainable development goals aim to ‘leave no one behind’ and several universal documents and principles are in place to protect humanity from such atrocities. Nevertheless, the international community has clearly failed when it comes to protect the Rohingya population. One important and significant step towards preventing future genocides and ethnic cleansings has been identified through this study – all individuals need to be ensured their fundamental human rights.

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