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Criticizing the Handling of Rohingya Refugees in Southeast Asia by ASEAN and Its Members

Universitas Nahdlatul Ulama Yogyakarta, Indonesia

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This article is a combination of scientific and policy papers. It will critically review how the Rohingya refugees were handled in Southeast Asia. The method used is qualitative policy analysis. The author will compare the statements contained in the ASEAN Charter, the Blueprint of the ASEAN Political-Security Community, and the ASEAN Declaration of Human Rights (AHRD) as legal umbrellas which guarantee the fulfilment of human rights in Southeast Asia with the policy responses of ASEAN and some of its members (Indonesia, Thailand, and Malaysia) toward the flow of Rohingya refugees. The policy analysis will target the substance and implications of the refugees. In general, there are two approaches to refugee policies, ‘security’ with an orientation toward state sovereignty and ‘humanism (human security)’ which is pro-refugee. The author uses the second approach as a framework and a standing position. Based on the results of the analysis, the security approach is far more dominant in the handling of Rohingya than humanism. The wave of Rohingya refugees is read as a security threat, economic burden, potential cultural issue, and other negative things that ultimately put the refugees in a worse position. The author criticizes this and suggests a number of recommendations to pursue a more humanistic approach.

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Keywords: human security approach; refugees handling policy; Rohingya refugees

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