Refugee Policy as Border Governance:Return and Repatriation to Myanmar

McConnachie, Kirsten (2020) Refugee Policy as Border Governance:Return and Repatriation to Myanmar. Modern Asian Studies. ISSN 0026-749X (In Press)

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This article examines the relationship between refugee policy and peacebuilding in Myanmar and argues for recognition of refugee policy as an influence on national politics and the politics of transition. Refugees have largely been overlooked in analyses of Myanmar’s transition, apparently considered peripheral to more prominent topics such as negotiation with armed groups, economic reform and political elections. By analysing approaches to return and repatriation in three distinct contexts (refugees in camps in Thailand, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh and Chin refugees in Malaysia) this article reveals the ways in which refugee policy reproduce boundaries and power hierarchies at multiple levels. It is argued that proposals for return and repatriation of refugees to Myanmar enact “border governance” at three scales: (1) global border control by keeping refugees in their region of origin or returning them to their country of origin; (2) national border control by reinforcing boundaries between Myanmar and its surrounding states; and (3) the governance of political transition by reinforcing the Myanmar Government’s narrative of peacebuilding by recasting continuing conflict as conditions suitable for refugee return. This latter point is particularly significant for refugees as it both encourages donor withdrawal from refugee situation and strengthens the Myanmar State against ethnic opposition movements.

Item Type: Article
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Law
Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2020 00:27
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2020 00:42

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