Separatist and Secessionist Movements in Southeast Asia

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Submitted By marland85
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Q3) Separatist and secessionist movements have been a common and persistent feature in post-colonial Southeast Asia. Using specific examples provide an argument as to why you think this is the case.

The balance of armed conflicts has shifted towards those which take place predominantly within states. The growing number of separatist and secessionist movements in Southeast Asia has become an increasing threat to political stability in the region and have been a major source of disruption in post-colonial times. The region has both the highest incidence of ethnic conflict and the highest number of independent ethno-political groups, with most internal conflicts based around communal, religious or ethnic issues (Reilly 2002, 8). This essay will argue that separatism is a result of a collective sense of grievance from social, economic, ethnic or political marginalisation. It will present the case studies of West Papua and the GAM (Gerakan Aceh Merdeka) movement in Aceh, Indonesia to demonstrate this marginalisation and its relation to national coherency in the terms of perceptions of identity and inclusion within national discourse. Firstly, this essay will discuss the modernisation and democratisation of the region and the role it plays in marginalisation. It will then explore the marginalisation in West Papua and Aceh and compare the effect on both separatist movements.
The region of Southeast Asia is in the midst of significant economic, social and political change. From authoritarian rule to democracy and from tradition to modernity, these transitions can often lead to conflict (Reilly 2002). The rapid democratisation of multi-ethnic states is likely to lead to ethnic-based quests for self-determination and therefore the creation of separatist movements, as evident in Southeast Asia (Reilly 2002, 12). As a result, the democratisation of countries like…...

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