The Rohingya of Myanmar: theoretical significance of the minority status

Jobair Alam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


The Rohingya of Myanmar have been experiencing a range of human rights violations including state-sponsored genocide and ethnic cleansing. Many argue that the genesis of the crisis lies in the denial of their legal status and granting citizenship would offer a solution. This article argues that apart from such legal dynamics, significant theoretical aspects of this crisis require analysis. From a theoretical perspective, the Rohingya’s identity as a minority is important as it leads to their persecution. This article demonstrates that their minority identity has been (re)constructed over time. Four factors such as (i) development of Burmese nationalism; (ii) politicisation of identity for Burmese majority; (iii) taking away of the citizenship of Rohingya; and (iv) ethnic divisions in Myanmar society have played significant roles in (re)constructing their identity as a minority. They give rise to a type of citizenship in Myanmar, which fails to include the religious minority within its ambit.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)180-210
Number of pages31
JournalAsian Ethnicity
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 3 Apr 2018


  • Rohingya
  • minority
  • nationalism
  • identity
  • citizenship


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