Pushing back ‘intruders’: Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee policy and state crime

R. R. Chowdhury

PhD Candidate, Criminology, School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Melbourne, rchowdhury@student.unimelb.edu.au

Despite the significant amount of research on refugee refusal from the Global North, very little is known about policies emanating from the Global South.  This thesis explores refugee refusal policies of the developing world utilising a tripartite state crime model. Using Bangladesh as a case study, thematic textual analysis of government rhetoric was carried out. The findings demonstrate that the Bangladeshi government’s rhetoric constructed Rohingya refugees as a ‘deviant’ group who were a ‘problem’ for the country. This resulted in popular support for repressive policies being initiated to prevent the Rohingya from entering Bangladesh. By applying the tripartite framework to these policies, the research has demonstrated that Bangladesh’s actions may be labelled as state crime in juridical, organisational deviance and social harm levels. It concludes by recognising that the tripartite model offers a more nuanced understanding of state crime in general, and recommends this model to be used for examining refugee refusal strategies of other countries — particularly in the Global South.


Chowdhury is a PhD Candidate in Criminology at the University of Melbourne. Her research focuses on state crime at the intersections of both corporations and vulnerable communities such as refugees. She recently received the JV Barry Medal for the most distinguished student in criminology in 2014.