The Role of ASEAN in Response to the Problems of the Rohingya Refugees

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Project Title: The Role of ASEAN in Response to the Problems of the Rohingya Refugees
Author: Miss Kanyaphat Sae Pua
Advisor: Associate Professor Dr. Tatree Nontasak
Degree: Master of Arts in Peace Studies and Diplomacy
Major: Peace Studies and Diplomacy
Faculty: Graduate School of Peace Studies and Diplomacy
Academic year: 2020


International Conference on Economics, Business and Interdisciplinary Studies (ICEBIS2019) on 05 Octorber 2019


Kanyaphat Sae Pua. (2020). The role of ASEAN in response to the problems of the Rohingya Refugees. (Thesis, Master of Peace Studies and Diplomacy). Bangkok: Siam University.


It is stated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) that “everyone has the right to a nationality and no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality.” According to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), “the state has to provide citizenship, economic freedom, social and cultural development to people under its jurisdiction.” However, the situation of human rights in the Southeast Asia region has continuously been violated, especially the refugee rights. This needs to be resolved by member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and non-state actors. This research aimed to study the roles of ASEAN’s actors in response to the Rohingya refugees’ problems. It started with a historical overview of the Rohingya ethnic group and its evolution from Arakan times until the post-colonial era. It then analyzed the multi-lateral legal and non-legal frameworks that were applicable to protect human rights in ASEAN member states.  The methodologies employed were documentary research and semi-structured interviews with knowledgeable representatives from various organizations including government bodies, international non-governmental organizations, and universities.  The research found that the root cause of the crisis was derived largely from the deprivation of fundamental human rights.  The study of the regionalism approach suggested that, in order to deal with the violations of human rights in the ASEAN countries, both state-actors and non-state actors should consider the principles of human rights when they create new laws, regulations, and norms. ASEAN should emphasize the importance of human rights approach at the national and regional levels. Additionally, ASEAN should designate the Senior Official Ministerial on Transnational Crime (SOMTC) as a monitoring and evaluation administrator of the region. ASEAN should also encourage the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) to promote the human rights approach in ASEAN member states and closely monitor them based on the Treaty of Amity and Cooperation in Southeast Asia (TAC), which aligns with the principle of the ASEAN-Way. Moreover, AICHR should encourage ASEAN member states to ratify the refugee and stateless conventions in order to prevent all violence related to refugees, migrants, and stateless individuals or groups in the future. In conclusion, by employing these approaches and suggestions, the Rohingya refugee problems could gradually be alleviated.

Keywords: ASEAN, Rohingya, Human Rights.

The role of ASEAN in response to the problems of the Rohingya Refugees

Master of Arts in Peace Studies and Diplomacy, Siam University, Bangkok, Thailand


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