Discriminatory Citizenship Legislation and Migration: The Cases of Myanmar and India
Friedberg, Rivee S
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International migration is an intersectional issue that has garnered significant attention in recent years. South Asia has seen several migratory flows over the span of several decades, with the possibility of more on the horizon. Understanding the causes of migration as a result of loss of citizenship will assist in formulating responses to their effects. The Rohingya have been persecuted by the government of Myanmar for decades, as they are deemed non-citizens, and in 2017, over 700,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar in search of refuge. In 2019, India’s parliament passed the Citizenship Amendment Act and implemented the National Register of Citizens in Assam. Both of these documents stand to revoke the citizenship of millions of Muslims in India and could lead to a mass migratory flow as a result. This research study examines the relationship between discriminatory citizenship legislation and migration in South Asia. Myanmar and India were used as case studies to explore the relationship more deeply, focusing on the Rohingya and Muslim populations in the respective countries. I found that while there is an active relationship between discriminatory citizenship legislation and migration in both countries, the relationship is not conclusively causative, meaning that the legislation does not necessarily determine migration. Deeply rooted prejudices toward Muslims in both countries is a critical factor within the relationship. This research contributes to the literature on migration by adding specific insights into an aspect of the field of migration that has yet to be studied in-depth. It engages with research in migration, citizenship, and statelessness and fills the gaps of the scholarly discourse by integrating all three into one study. The advisor for this research study is Professor Sarah Clark. This research study was reviewed by Dr. Sarah O’Byrne and Dr. Rameez Abbas.