UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Strangers to citizenship: an analysis of the deplorable conditions of the Urdu-speaking community in Bangladesh Muquim, Naimul


The despairing position of the Urdu-speaking Community, popularly known as the ‘Biharis’, who are currently living in Bangladesh, has been an intricate issue that has not garnered enough attention from both a local and international level than it actually merits. Even though the Government of Bangladesh has declared them as citizens, there is still a predicament for achieving a permanent long-lasting solution for their rehabilitation. This thesis asks whether it is sufficient to recognize the community’s lawful rights in Bangladesh and see this issue reciprocally from the Government of Bangladesh’s perspective. It argues for the requirements of protection and human rights that the Urdu-speakers legally deserve from Bangladesh. A major facet of the contention explores the international laws and treaties to which the Bangladesh government is obligated to for upholding the people’s rights. As the Urdu-speakers are living in a despondent situation for many decades, this thesis critically analyzes Bangladesh’s existing domestic legislation, and stresses for large-scale improvements for the settlements the community is living in, which would hopefully be a catalyst for change in governmental policy and organizational measures for dealing with them more efficiently. The question of whether the Urdu-speaking Community can be nationally integrated within Bangladesh is further examined in this thesis. Due to the convoluted nature of the subject and lack of political will in Bangladesh, no silver bullet for the Urdu-speakers’ quandaries can be suggested, but this thesis investigates some potential ways for mitigating their sufferings.

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