Call for papers : ASEAS 11 (2) : Forced Migration in Southeast Asia

Call for papers : ASEAS 11 (2) : Forced Migration in Southeast Asia

Deadline for submission : 31 december 2017

Issue 11(2) of the Austrian Journal of South-East Asian Studies (ASEAS), to be published in December 2018, features a focus on forced migration in Southeast Asia, assessing past, current, and future trends, reasons, and drivers as well as the cultural, social, economic, ecological, and legal dimensions of forced migration in the region.

Recently, movements of forced mass migration have mainly been associated with war torn countries such as Syria and Iraq. However, Southeast Asian countries are not only hosting a significant number of international refugees and asylum seekers but have also been witnessing regional crises of transnational and domestic mass displacement due to armed conflicts, cultural, ethnic, and religious prosecution, or environmental degradation and natural disasters. Two most recent cases include the so-called Rohingya crisis of 2016 and the conflict in Marawi, Philippines, where most of its 200,000 inhabitants fled the city after it had been overrun by a local offshoot of the Islamic State. From an area studies perspective, these and many more examples raise the question of how the issue of domestic and transnational forced migration is being addressed at domestic as well as bi- and multilateral levels within the region.

Thus far, little do we know about the current state of refugees and internally displaced persons in Southeast Asia. There are only rough estimates available on the actual number of people that migrate involuntarily to or within the region. However, according to UNHCR, 14% of the 65.3 million forced migrant population worldwide are currently hosted by countries in the Asia-Pacific Region. Regarding refugees and asylum seekers in Southeast Asian countries, official numbers only exist for Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines which, according to UNHCR, hosted close to 285,000 in 2015 (UNHCR, 2016, Global Trends Forced Displacement in 2015). In Southeast Asia, only Cambodia, the Philippines, and Timor-Leste have ratified the 1951 Refugee Convention and its 1967 protocol. Although the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration mentions ASEAN’s and its member states’ commitment to guarantee the right to seek asylum, thus far, member states’ way to address the issue of forced migration has been rather individualist.

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