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In this latest IMI Working Paper, MSc in Migration Studies graduate Cresa Pugh examines the historic exclusion of the Rohingya in Burma and forms of non-formal exclusion that have contributed to their statelessness.

The Rohingya of Burma are a Muslim ethnic minority group that have a long historic presence in the country. Today, they are one of the most persecuted minorities in the world, and in Burma they are rendered stateless by the Government’s refusal to recognise them as citizens. Many argue that their legal citizenship is the root cause of their exclusion and ongoing persecution.

In this paper the author, Cresa Pugh, argues that the exclusion of the Rohingya is caused not only by their lack of legal citizenship, but other forms of non-formal exclusion that have been equally significant. The author presents evidence of the historic persecution of the Rohingya, arguing that legal citizenship would not overcome the now institutionalised discrimination that permeates Burma’s social, political, cultural and economic structures.

This working paper has been developed from Cresa's Masters Dissertation. Students in the MSc in Migration Studies receiving a distinction for their thesis are invited to publish a modified version as an IMI and COMPAS joint working paper.