Reflections on the Rohingya case

Since August 2017 thousands of Rohingya members have fled from Myanmar due to deliberately acts of persecution, which roots to an old ethnic conflict where majority of people resisted to recognized that community as a citizen of Myanmar (1). Accordingly, to General Secretary of the United Nations Mr. Antonio Guterres all this situation could be perfectly framing under the legal category of “ethnic cleansing”.  In this post, I would like to pointed out two topics: (i) to relate the cause of this conflict due to material conditions, and (ii) the necessity that neighbours countries recognize the Rohingya refugees under “prima facie” collective process.

The economical roots for this persecution

There is a common explanation to the Rohingya persecution case on arguments where it says that the main causes are just ethnic and historical differences. Yet, there is another way to find the main causes for this conflict in the economical realm.  A research made by “The conversation” base on evidence that shows that religion or ethnic difference are no the only causes for this persecution, and it is important to notice how economical factor has influence this humanitarian crisis (2).  Whereas, there has been a myriad of tensions between different ethnic groups and economical interest around land and extractive natural resources.

This research explains how historically in Myanmar the confiscation of Land has been a widespread practice by the State and Military agents.  This practice works as an effective way to cause desposetion and for fulfil economical purposes in terms to secure extractions industries interests mainly.  So that, it is sensitive to take into account this kind of factor in order to assesses in adequate way the real dimension of the problem.   

This connection between extractive industries, land dispossession and causing social conflicts affecting minorities groups it seems as a trends worldwide, with a harder impact among Global South communities.

The necessity of a prima facie procedural asylum recognition

Another important point to is to advocate for an effective protection responses to the Rohingya humanitarian needs.  International Refugee Law established that the Recognition of Refugee status could be made either individually or in collective way. In this line, it is important for International community to press to neighbour countries in order they offer fair and fast Refugee Status Determination under the institution of “prima facie” process. UNHCR has defined the prima facie process as “[s]situations have […] arisen in which entire groups have been displaced under circumstances indicating that members of the group could be considered individually as refugees. In such situations the need to give assistance is often extremely urgent and it may not be possible for purely practical reasons to carry out an individual determination of refugee status for each member of the group. Recourse has therefore been had to so-called “group determination” of refugee status, whereby each member of the group is regarded prima facie (i.e. in the absence of evidence to the contrary) as a refugee.” (3)

In other words, due to the objective evidence from Country of Origin and massive persecution that are facing Rohingya as ethnic group it is a necessity that their Refugees Status Determination will be determinate in a collective way. Therefore, their basic need could be addressed in a more proper way.


  1.  https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/11/un-myanmars-treatment-of-rohingya-textbook-example-of-ethnic-cleansing
  2. http://theconversation.com/religion-is-not-the-only-reason-rohingyas-are-being-forced-out-of-myanmar-83726
  3. UNHCR, Handbook and Guidelines on Procedures and Criteria for Determining Refugee Status under the 1951 Convention and the 1967 Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees, reissued December 2011, HCR/1P/4/ENG/REV.3 (hereafter “UNHCR, Handbook”), para. 44.

Analysis of three Policy Briefs – GPP 509


Communicating Policy – GPP 509. 

Policy Brief #1:


  1. Author:  International Labour Organization.
  2. Topic:  Labour policies – Domestic work policies.
  3. Purpose of the brief:  The brief purpose is to show a method of how to measure the economic value of domestic work.  This document challenge traditional economical approaches which says that domestic work it does not has a value in capitalist terms.
  4. Table of content: Introduction, Conceptual framework, Proposed measure of value for domestic workers and their families, Proposed measures of value for employing households, Proposed measures of value for the country, Proposed measures of global value, Conclusion, References.
  5. Evaluation: In my opinion, this brief it is an interesting summary of the ´state of arts´ about how to measure its value. First, the author frames the core concepts around this debate in terms of theoretical and methods. So that, it challenges the capitalist idea of human work as just those activities limits to wages earns, and go beyond analyzing how human work is much more than just to perceive a wage. The next step of this brief is to argue of the non-monetary value of domestic work, for instance, its social effects in helping to reduce poverty. On the other hand, the brief pointed out how important is to collect data in every country to make an adequate measurement. In this line, the brief shows different methods for achieving to value domestic works emphasizing which social goals the research need to meet. I think this is also the most important part of the brief due to stress out the importance of political economy and political theory that must underline every public policy.

Policy Brief #2:


  1. Author: OECD and UNHCR.
  2. Topic: Labour policies – Refugee Labour rights – Refugee Hiring policies.
  3. Purpose of the brief: The document is aimed to show the challenges which face both corporate sectors and refugees in the hiring phase at OECD countries.
  4. Table of content: Introduction, The business case, Challenges in hiring asylum seekers and refugees, Emerging findings, References.
  5. Evaluation: In my opinion, the brief fulfilled its purposed in assessment what the main legal, institutional and social barriers are for asylum seekers and refugees to obtained a job at OECD labour systems. At the same time, the Brief make several recommendations to all the actors: corporations, Government, and refugees communities. According to the Brief I find the most important policies to be take are (i) to remove any legal barrier that prevent Refugees to obtain a job, especially those related to asylum seekers; (ii) to promote a cost- benefit approach in order to show what could gains corporations from hiring people under international protection; (iii) to work on public information campaigns for mitigate negative public opinion regarding this issue.

Policy Brief # 3: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/media/57a08a5ced915d622c0006d1/120316_ECO_ExtIndLanUse_BRIEF4_0.pdf

  1. Author: ELLSA- UK Government.
  2. Topic: Environmental policies – Extractive industries – Conservationist policies.
  3. Purpose of the brief: The brief purpose is to show the impact among extractive industries of Yasuni ITT conservationist policy made by Ecuador as an alternative to climate change, wich consist in refraining to extract the oil from this area asking for a compensation to developed world (co-responsibility principle).
  4. Table of content: Summary, The Context: Conservation vs Extraction, The Case: Ecuador´s Yasuni-ITT Initiative, Contextual Factors.
  5. Evaluation: In my opinion, this brief it is incomplete in terms to discuss all the challenges that Yasuni ITT initiative faces. In this line, there is not analysis of how great powers fail to funding the initiative despite their great rhetoric around fighting climate change.  The brief just made an overview of this proposal just from a technical perspective, yet with totally absent of an international power relations dynamics.