CONF.695 – Spring 2015

CONF.695 (Spring 2015)
Week 6: In-class Case Analysis:
Case Study #1: BURMA – Rohingya Community

Burma (Myanmar), is home to a diverse population of over 135 different ethnic groups. Until 2011, the country was an international pariah due to the fact that for over 40 years, a repressive, dictatorial, military junta, which displayed little concern for human rights, controlled Burma with a heavy hand. While many of the large ethnic groups, including the Karen, Kachin, Mon, and Chin to name a few, were able to establish armed militias to combat the oppressive State military forces, one group in particular remained weak, vulnerable, and unorganized: the Rohingya.

Concentrated in the western state of Rakhine (formerly known as Arakan), the Rohingya are a Muslim minority group whose claim to Burmese heritage is highly contested in the Buddhist majority country. Their total population totals about a million people though due to state sponsored discrimination in the formal and informal sphere, a large portion of the stateless Rohingya are living in IDP camps within Burma, and even more – upwards of several hundreds of thousands – are living as refugees in Bangladesh (and to a lesser extent in Thailand). Burma and Bangladesh’s treatment of the Rohingya IDPs and refugees is deplorable and needs scrutiny and a more durable solution than their current modus operandi, which is to disregard and pass the buck.

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Case Study #2: South Sudan – 2014 Crisis in South Sudan:

Background:

Just a few years ago, South Sudan, the world’s youngest country, celebrated its independence from Sudan after a long and bloody conflict. In July 2014, South Sudan turned 3 years old. The joy of independence, however, was overshadowed by political disputes and violence. South Sudan’s current turmoil began in December 2013, when a coup attempt failed and fighting erupted between rebel groups. This political conflict turned into ethnic violence between two groups, ‘Nuer’ and ‘Dinka’, plunging the new nation into an ethnically charged civil war.
In bitter fighting between South Sudan’s army and rebel forces, thousands of people have been killed this year (2014). Inter-ethnic conflicts continue in various parts of the country, causing internal and cross-border displacement.
In addition, in South Sudan, parts of the population remain at risk of becoming stateless by virtue of being of mixed Sudanese-South Sudanese parentage.
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Case Study #3: Syrian Refugees in Turkey
Background:
The conflict in Syria began in early 2011 following a series of demonstrations that took place in key cities across the country. The nationwide protests were targeted against the country’s Presidential government, whose forces responded with violent crackdown. The conflict gradually morphed from popular protests to an armed rebellion after months of military sieges.
Now the armed opposition consists of various groups that were formed during the course of the conflict. Many of the groups are small and operate on a local level, but a number have emerged as powerful forces with affiliates across the country or formed alliances with other groups that share a similar agenda.
More than 6.5 million Syrians have been displaced, more than 3 million Syrians have fled the country and have gone in search for safe haven, to Lebanon, Jordan, and Turkey and have become refugees, and millions have been left in poor living conditions with shortages of food and drinking water.
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Case Study #4: Ukraine – IDPs in Ukraine

Background:
Since the end of February 2014, demonstrations by pro-Russian, anti-government, and ultra-nationalist groups have taken place in major cities across the eastern and southern regions of Ukraine.
During the first stage of the unrest, Crimea was annexed by the Russian Federation. Protests in the neighboring areas of Crimea (Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts) had escalated into an armed separatist insurgency, which had led the Ukrainian government to launch a military counter-offensive against the insurgents, resulting in the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

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