IASH Work-in-Progress Seminar: Prof. Ridwanul Hoque

Event date: 
Wednesday 3 March to Thursday 4 March

An IASH Work-in-Progress Seminar given by Professor Ridwanul Hoque. Please note that this seminar starts at the earlier time of 10:00 GMT, not 13:00 as previously.

Citizenship, mass-denationalization, and statelessness in mighty States: The cases of the Rohingya and India’s NRC


In the citizenship literature, mass-denationalization is understudied. Most studies tend to focus on such questions as whether a State can at all denationalize a citizen or what should be the principles guiding denationalization. What if a post-colonial mighty State denationalizes a large group of people? Mass-denationalization takes place on grounds of extreme nationalism based on faiths or any particular ideology, and with the help of authoritarian laws although it indeed is an offence against international law. The proposed research seeks to investigate two cases of mass-denationalization, one in the making and the other completed, in two modern nation states—India and Myanmar.

India started classifying a huge number of its nationals as non-citizens since 2015, finalizing the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in 2019 acknowledging only those who have ‘documentary proof” of being Indians before midnight on 24 March 1971 (a day before Bangladesh’s independence). As a result, a total of 1.9 million people belonging mostly to the Muslim community have become stateless. On the other hand, by using a law, Myanmar has denationalized an ethnic Muslim minority group, the Rohingya, in the Rakhine state. Over a million of Rohingya have now taken refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh where they continue to live as unrecognized refugees. The proposed research will investigate how the two mighty States construct the institute of citizenship and their sovereign authority to exclude large groups from citizenry, and what are the international law implications of mass-denationalizations.

Please email iash@ed.ac.uk for a private link to join the seminar.