Statelessness in South Asia

Monday, 11 March 2019, 6:00pm - 7:30pm, IWM library
The lecture examines the entanglements of citizenship policies and practices with the spread of statelessness today. It discusses the genesis of the Rohingya question in Myanmar in the broader context of citizenship registration drives in some postcolonial countries, which render massive number of “illegal immigrants” stateless. Current citizenship policies in these countries reflect the desire to achieve a perfect fit between the “right” kind of population and the “right size” of territory for a nation-state. But they must be also understood against the background of a shift in emphasis from jus soli to jus sanguinis, the existence of borderland populations and the no-where people, population flows across (post)colonial border formations and boundary delimitations and the growth of regional informal labour markets characterised by immigrant labour economies.  In what ways is the production of statelessness in the postcolonial world different from the classical idea of statelessness originating from succession of states (for instance, Yugoslavia)? The talk will also address the implications of such national citizen registers for international human rights laws and for key instruments on statelessness – the 1954 UN Convention Relating to the Status of Stateless Persons and the 1961 Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness. It will show why the international legal understanding of statelessness is inadequate to theorise the growing phenomenon of statelessness today.

Ranabir Samaddar is the Director of the Calcutta Research Group, and belongs to the school of critical thinking. He has pioneered along with others peace studies programmes in South Asia. He has worked extensively on issues of justice and rights in the context of conflicts in South Asia.
His particular researches have been on migration and refugee studies, the theory and practices of dialogue, nationalism and post-colonial statehood in South Asia, and new regimes of technological restructuring and labour control.
Currently he is a guest at the IWM.

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