After the deluge of headlines during ASEAN’s 50th birthday in 2017 and before that, the start of the ASEAN Community in 2016, this year may signal a return to what many see as ASEAN’s return to its uneventful – or boring – ways.
This article seeks to discuss how ASEAN could ensure their regional integration efforts would be truly “inclusive” and that will guarantee better future for forced migrant population in the region. In doing so, this article discusses what the ASEAN and its member states committed in the past.
Refugees in Southeast Asia live in legal limbo and are subject to harassment, arrest, and detention. Especially Rohingya refugees are in indefinite detention and have been forgotten by the international media.
In times of increased ASEAN economic integration the official rhetoric around migration is one of free labour markets, opportunities and exchange. However, there are indications that ASEAN's migration management is in fact a "politics of return".