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Voices of the Burmese Rohingya refugees: everyday politics of survival in refugee camps in Bangladesh

Farzana, Kazi Fahmida (2016) Voices of the Burmese Rohingya refugees: everyday politics of survival in refugee camps in Bangladesh. Pertanika Journal of Social Sciences & Humanities, 24 (1). pp. 131-150. ISSN 0128-7702

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Many of the displaced ethnic Rohingya minority from Myanmar living in Bangladesh for more than two decades are as documented and undocumented refugees. Those living in two registered refugee camps are documented refugees, located in secluded areas, maintaining a safe distance from the locals and monitored by the appointed authority. How is life like for the refugees at these camps? How do the young refugees envision their present and future within the given environment? This paper examines the young Rohingya refugees’ everyday politics of survival at one of the registered refugee camps, i.e.Nayapara, located in the Teknaf sub-district of Cox’s Bazar district of Bangladesh, in an effort to understand their interactions with the host state local society and international agencies within the framework of state-imposed boundaries. The paper takes people’s perspective and the agency’s approach and frames the refugee society as a political community. The ethnographic data for this research came from 30 respondents using qualitative methods of in-depth interviews, group discussion and participant observation.The paper argues that the critical voices of camp-based refugees often articulate narratives of dispossession and marginalisation that can, in one way or another, be explained as the outcome or consequence of their forced migration; however, notwithstanding adversity, the refugees learn to live and find ways to make a life, within the given situation, navigating through a complex process of contestation, negotiation, adjustment and manipulation.Some of the activities such as taking on the role of brokers between agencies and refugees, and seasonal work outside the camp boundary indicate refugees’ delicate negotiation with their situation and individuals’ aspirations to defy the imagined boundary of camps.This paper shows the dynamics of contestation and collaboration within the camp situation and criticises encampment as a strategy of refugee protection.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Rohingya voices, boundaries, camp life, youth perspective, Bangladesh
Subjects: J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: School of International Studies
Depositing User: Mrs. Norazmilah Yaakub
Date Deposited: 05 Jun 2017 07:50
Last Modified: 05 Jun 2017 07:50
URI: http://repo.uum.edu.my/id/eprint/22199

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