Mobility - translocality and gendered violence

Our empirical study aims to better understand the everyday lives of Rohingya women and their responses to pervasive gender-based violence in refugee camps and the Bangladesh–Myanmar borderlands from the perspective of translocal mobility and transnational conflict.

Against the backdrop of a protracted refugee crisis, ongoing armed conflict and illicit cross-border mobilities, this study investigates the gendered consequences of refugeehood in the Bangladesh–Myanmar borderlands.

Since August 2017, Bangladesh is hosting nearly one million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar in some of the largest refugee camps in the world, located directly on the Myanmar border. The Rohingya are an ethno-religious minority who are denied citizenship in Myanmar and have been repeatedly forcibly displaced, both within the country and to Bangladesh. Currently, Rohingya refugees face bleak prospects of returning to Myanmar, very few legal options for onward movement and increasing precariousness and insecurity in the refugee camps, compounded by declining humanitarian support.

Despite a growing body of literature on Rohingya displacement and refugeehood, the violent interplay of camp insecurity, borderland conflict, and translocal mobility, and how it shapes the lives of Rohingya refugees, remains understudied and is insufficiently addressed in political and humanitarian discourses. We aim to empirically investigate the lasting effects of violent conflict, informal security regimes and transnational trade networks, with a particular focus on their manifestations in the everyday lives of Rohingya women. In doing so, the study seeks to capture women's strategies for enhancing their security, support mechanisms, and strategies for resisting gender-based violence (GBV), immobilization, and social exclusion.

Adopting a translocal lens, recognising the agency of displaced people, but also acknowledging the factual power of the violent borderlands in the camps, this study broadens discourses on refugee women's vulnerability to GBV and explores new avenues for humanitarian action. The project will offer an evidence-based reassessment of the GBV landscape and provide actionable recommendations for policies and programmes that recognise the realities and specific obstacles faced by Rohingya women.

This research is supported by the Cross-Border Conflict Evidence, Policy and Trends (XCEPT) research programme, funded by UK International Development.

Dr Benjamin Etzold

Senior Researcher


Project Partners


Anas Ansar, University of Bonn, Bonn Centre for Dependency and Slavery Studies (BCDSS),

 Professor Syeda Rozana Rashid, University of Dhaka, Department of International Relations

This research is supported by the Cross-Border Conflict Evidence, Policy and Trends (XCEPT) research programme, funded by UK International Development


Feb. - Oct. 2024