Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs (BILIA) organized a symposium titled “International law and the making of Postcolonial States” at the BILIA Auditorium on 28th June 2018. Professor Dr. Mizanur Rahman, Department of Law, University of Dhaka and former Chairman, National Human Rights Commission, Bangladesh presided over the event while Dr. Shahdeen Malik, eminent jurist and Honorary Director, BILIA gave the welcome address.
Dr. Mohammad Shahabuddin, Reader in International Law and Human Rights at the University of Birmingham, UK presented the theoretical framework of his forthcoming book project - “Minorities, and Making of Postcolonial States in International law” as a part of his Leverhulme Trust Research Fellowship. Dr. Shahabuddin shed light on the nexus between the international law and the genesis or origin of the ethnicity in the postcolonial states. Addressing postcolonial nation-building as one of the suspects, he stated researchers have identified when a nation acquires independence, they, at first, wants to form an ethnic nation. Identifying the reason to that, he stated researchers have identified two reasons for that, firstly, the existence of a strong binomial attachment among the people which is not a monolithic idea. Secondly, the primary duty of these newly independent nations becomes the absorbance of such binomial groups into a civic nationalism.
He also added, when we furnish this duty completely upon the nation the other relevant elements of the ethno-nationalism genesis hides behind that. So, he acknowledges colonialism as the second suspect. Referring to the concept of “divide and rule”, he suggested that the postcolonial challenges are the consequences of the concept. However, the nation cannot be held liable as the nation has acquired it as a successor. So, the point that he wanted to draw was, ‘colonialism is a central element to this motion of ethno-politics and postcolonial states but that provocation is not clearer than the simplified idea of the concept of divide and rule.’ Lastly, referring to the ‘theory of relative group’ entitlement he addressed capitalism or postcolonial liberal state as the last suspect. Furthermore, he added if the three suspects are analyzed then we can identify the multiple visions of the postcolonial state where the three different ideas are combined together. In answering, how international law matters here. He added,’ international law matters because the three suspects are a part of international law. ‘Finally, he argues with the continuation of colonialism, ambivalence with minority group rights and neoliberal developmentalism international law facilities the crisis.
Dr. Shahdeen Malik raised concern regarding the usual discussions that are organized on positive law addressing what can be done or what needs to be done. In the concluding remark, Dr. Mizanur Rahman besides acknowledging ‘divide and rule’ concept, also acknowledged the concept of fragmentar antónimos. He further urged for further research from different other dimensions including the participation of common people which can ultimately enrich the proposed project.
The event is covered by Sadiya S. Silvee , Researcher at Bangladesh Institute of Law and International Affairs (BILIA)