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The Voices of the Victims: The Rohingyas and their “Subhuman” life

October 10, 2019 @ 6:15 pm - 7:45 pm

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SIPA Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy Concentration

Please join us for a lecture with:


Nasir Uddin, Cultural Anthropologist based in Bangladesh and Professor of Anthropology,

Chittagong University



The Rohingyas, widely known as the world’s most persecuted ethnic minority, experienced an unprecedented brutality committed by Myanmar security forces along in collaboration with some ethnic extremists and Buddhist fundamentalist. Under the pretext of counter insurgency following an alleged attack by ARSA on August 25, 2017 onwards, Myanmar security forces indiscriminately killed, randomly raped and intentionally burnt houses and properties of the civilian Rohingya people in Rakhine state. A report prepared by a three-member-panel appointed by the United Nations published in August 2018 showed that the brutal military crackdown in 2017 triggered an influx of 725,000 [until now 750,000] Rohingyas to Bangladesh, more than 10,000 were killed on the ground in the first two months, hundreds of girls and women were ganged raped, and around 392 villages were partially or totally destroyed. Combined with previous waves of refugees, now 1.3 million Rohingyas live in Ukhia and Teknaf refugee camps which are considered as the world’s largest camps. The intensity of atrocity was so extreme that the UN Human Rights Council’s Chief termed it as “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing” whilst many scholars and many credible media outlets called it “genocide.” Accounts gathered by Nasir Uddin from the Rohingyas living in Ukhia and Teknaf unfold the horrible ways they were dealt with as if they were lesser than human beings what Uddin terms “subhuman” life. This talk presents the first-hand narratives of the Rohingya refugees, the voices of the victims, in the broader spectrum of statelessness, refugeehood and human rights in the world.


Nasir Uddin is a cultural anthropologist based in Bangladesh, and Professor of Anthropology at Chittagong University. Uddin studied and carried out research at the University of Oxford, School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), the London School of Economics (LSE), Heidelberg University, VU University Amsterdam, Ruhr-University Bochum, Delhi School of Economics (DSE), the University of Hull, Kyoto University, and the University of Dhaka. His research interests include refugees, statelessness, and citizenship; state in everyday life and transborder movements; indigeneity and identity politics; the Rohingyas; the Chittagong Hill Tracts; and South Asia more general. His latest edited book is “Deterritorialised Identity and Transborder Movement in South Asia” (Springer, 2019 (co-edited with Nasreen Chowdhory). His forthcoming book is “The Rohingya: A Case of Subhuman” (Oxford University Press, 2019).


This is a Weatherhead East Asian Lecture and Panels event.


No registration required.


October 10, 2019

6:15 PM – 7:45 PM



International Affairs Building, Room 802

420 West 118th Street


For press inquiries, please contact Ariana King ak4364@columbia.edu.

Cosponsors: SIPA Human Rights and Humanitarian Policy Concentration; Institute for the Study of Human Rights; Global Cultural Studies; Institute for Comparative Literature and Society


October 10, 2019
6:15 pm - 7:45 pm
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