Running Head: Mitigating Refugees’ Social Exclusion

Document Type : Original Article


Independent Researcher


The 2017 unprecedented pouring of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees
into neighboring Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh, fleeing violence related to a retaliatory
military crackdown in western Myanmar (Burma), created a major humanitarian crisis.
Sympathy and solidarity were expressed worldwide, alongside a flood of humanitarian
aid. However, their decades-old plight as socially excluded poor and marginalized
outside Myanmar, particularly in host countries of Southeast Asia, has remained eclipsed.
Youngsters, preferred targets for drug traffickers, participate as mules in smuggling a
heavily consumed methamphetamine (yaba pills) proceeding from Myanmar. Such
deviance (being part of the supply chain), which not only is a criminal offence, but also
blamed on the entire community, is likely to exacerbate its marginalization. A collective
punishment of these forcibly displaced would make them shift to becoming forcibly
relocated and confined to Thengar Char, a remote and underdeveloped island in the
Bay of Bengal known for being prone to flooding. Although important, criticism and
condemnations may be insufficient. This article addresses recreational sports as a tool of
social inclusion among other already known benefits, and is based on secondary data.
In so doing, it seeks to link it with the key role of social policy in providing responses
to the needs of a vulnerable population in a protracted situation. Plentiful leisure time
available looks undervalued. There is a predominant monovalent activity with a gender
discrepancy in participation. The article offers a perspective on mitigating their exclusion,
drawing on a hierarchy of prepotency, and minding that social inclusion is neither the
focus of social policy nor recreational sports a panacea.