Author

Mariam Ahmed

Degree

Master of Science in Journalism

Faculty / School

Faculty of Business Administration (FBA)

Supervisor

Muna Khan, Lecturer, Centre for Excellence in Journalism

Project Type

MSJ Capstone

Abstract / Summary

Today, the world faces the highest number of displacements ever recorded (United Nations [UN], n.d.), with refugees and asylum seekers amounting to 28.5 million, according to data released by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) (UNHCR, n.d.). Rohingya Muslims, belonging to the Rakhine district in Myanmar (Ahmed, 2009), form a large section of these displaced individuals (UNHCR, n.d.), who are forced to flee their homeland in the face of atrocities afflicted by the Government of Myanmar (Warr, & Wong, 1997).

According to UNHCR, Rohingya are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world (Baloch, 2017), subjected to brutal oppression and denied the right of citizenship in Myanmar (Yusuf, 2017). This has resulted in a mass exodus of Rohingya from the Buddhist-majority Myanmar, as they seek refuge in the neighboring Bangladesh, Malaysia, Pakistan and other countries (Kyaw, 2008).

Presently, after Bangladesh, Pakistan is home to the largest population of those Rohingya migrants who left Myanmar during 1960s and 1970s (Malik, 2017). Though unlike Bangladesh, in Pakistan these migrants are not recognized as refugees but are identified as illegal migrants and stateless individuals (Yusuf, 2017). This further raises the question of the citizenship and status of individuals born to these stateless Rohingya migrants in Pakistan.

This project aims to answer to this very question while shedding light on the predicaments these stateless individuals face and how they have been able to go about their daily lives lacking as essential a document as a Computerised National Identity Card (CNIC).

The project also aims to explore problems that are a direct outcome of their illegal migrant/ stateless status including restricted movement, dearth of work opportunities, inadequate pay-scale, lack of education and healthcare facilities and subjection to harassment by police. More importantly, it will seek answers to questions like are these refugees entitled to the citizenship of their parents’ homelands and what’s their future and identity. It will also probe reasons that have hampered them from attaining citizenship so far.

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