Student Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Fall 12-18-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

B.A. with honors

Honors Designation


Program of Study

Political Science



First Advisor

Dr. Stephanie R. Golob

Second Advisor

Thomas Halper

Third Advisor

Marcus Johnson


In 2017, genocide in Myanmar took place against the stateless minority Rohingya Muslims. Why couldn’t the UN protect the Rohingya’s human rights? The international community's efforts to oppose these violations against the stateless people have been only passive. Then, who upholds your human rights when you are stateless? Using chronology, historical institutionalism, and process tracing analyses, this thesis (1) evaluates the UN’s legal regime’s systemic design and capabilities in protecting human rights; then (2) identifies the design flaws of our international human rights regime; and lastly, (3) develops a recommendation to protect all people, stateless or not. Based on both quantitative and qualitative data on established human rights institutions, documents, mechanisms and efforts, and the UN’s handling of Rohingya Genocide as a case study, this thesis argues that I will argue that the UN was unable to protect the Rohingya’s human rights because there is a set of flaws within its institutional systemic design, which limits its ability to intervene and address humanitarian crises. It identifies the four critical systemic design flaws which explain why the UN’s ability to protect all people is limited and inconsistent. Previously, scholars have suggested creating comprehensive refugee/stateless laws and making the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the 1954 and 1961 Statelessness Conventions legally binding as a solution. This thesis recommends an alternate solution: Project Global Citizenship. As a formerly undocumented immigrant, I continue to find this topic compelling for people of our generation to care and find justice for vulnerable people our governments have neglected.



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