The Imagined Terrain: Return, Citizenship and Justice in the Eyes of Rohingya Refugee Women

05 Nov 2020 06.00 PM - 07.30 PM Alumni, Current Students, Industry/Academic Partners, Prospective Students, Public
Organised by:
Yong Wern Mei

Since 25th August 2017, Bangladesh witnessed the largest and swiftest refugee exodus in the region in recent decades. Over 720,000 Rohingyas sought safety in Cox’s Bazaar District. They joined 34,000 Rohingya registered as refugees in the camps in Kutupalong and Nayapara, as well as nearly 300,000 others in makeshift camps and settlements among host communities. There are now some 887,000 Rohingya refugees in different camps/settlements in Cox’s Bazar district out of more than 50% of the recently arrived are women. Yet in discussions of return, citizenship and justice their voices are hardly ever heard or addressed in decision-making circles. Through a series of focus group discussions with Rohingya women in the camps in Cox’s Bazar, Research Initiatives, Bangladesh in collaboration with a local women-led NGO, have tried to elicit their perspectives on issues of return to the homeland, meaning of citizenship and justice. Their responses will, we believe, shed light on the potentiality for women to take a more proactive role in peace-building in the future and contribute towards recognition of such roles by relevant stakeholders and institutions.


Dr. Meghna Guhathakurta taught International Relations at the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh from 1984 to 2006. She is currently Executive Director of Research Initiatives, Bangladesh (RIB) a research support organized based in Dhaka, which specializes in participatory action research with marginalized communities. Dr. Guhathakurta graduated from the University of Dhaka and received her Ph.D from the University of York, UK. in Politics. Her field of specialization has broadly been international development, gender relations and South Asian politics. She is well published in migration trends in Partition histories, peace-building in post conflict societies and minority rights in South Asia. She is also Associate Editor of the Journal of Social Studies published from the Centre for Social Studies in Dhaka.

Meghna was formerly Member, National Human Rights Commission, Bangladesh. She is currently advisor to the International Chittagong Hill Tracts Commission, and has been project coordinator of RIB’s project in the registered Rohingya refugee camps as implementing partner of UNHCR from 2011 to 2015 and currently leading two projects with host communities in Cox’s Bazar. She co-edited The Bangladesh Reader and has several publications on the above issues in national and international journals.

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