Fiza Lee

Contact image

PhD Student

Institute of Development Research and Development Policy
Ruhr-University Bochum
Universitaetsstr. 105, Room 2.28
D-44789 Bochum

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Download information as: vCard

PhD Project

Rohingya Crisis and its Regional Response

With more than 68 million people worldwide being forcibly displaced, human rights and the protection of these people become more important than ever. However, in a region where human rights protection is inconsistent and where human rights itself has been argued to be a “Western” concept, human rights infractions is given a chance to fester. Unlike other regions of the world where human rights is recognized and protected by the law, Asia still lags behind.

Even with the existence of the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), which began operations in October 2009, under the auspices of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), there is no single body (institution/organization) that covers all of human rights (enforcement, monitoring, protection) in Asia. Additionally, application of international law and international human rights law also becomes a challenge when human rights is not considered a top priority.

This becomes even more challenging when dealing with the current refugee crisis, especially the Rohingya crisis, which can be said to cast doubt on ASEAN’s and AICHR’s ability in effectively dealing with the situation. Even though regional cooperation has been identified as a needed key component to address the issue, it is still largely hindered by strong emphasis on respect to state sovereignty, non-interference, and consensus, known as the ASEAN Way. Thus, an approach that is sensitive to the region’s history, cultural diversity, and international relations complexities is needed.

Due to Asia’s unique geopolitical position, the Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime (Bali Process) was formed in 2002 with a mandate of addressing irregular migration and related transnational crime. Currently with 49 full members today including IOM and UNHCR, can the Bali Process succeed in not only bringing refugee protection on the agenda, but also serve as a regional refugee protection response?

This research project aims to analyse and assess the viability of utilizing the Bali Process as a response approach adopted by the Asian region and comparing it against the various approaches across the different regions, taking the Rohingya Refugee situation as a case study. This contributes to a better understanding of the region as a whole, to synergise between individual state interests and regional protection, before policy prescriptions are to be created and applied.

Supervisor: Prof. Dr. Hans-Joachim Heintze

Research Interests

refugee studies, international law, human rights law, democratization, governance & democracy, public policy, formal institutions, and comparative, qualitative analysis


2018 - present   Institute of Development Research and Development Policy (IEE), Ruhr Universität Bochum, Germany
PhD International Development Studies
2017 - 2018   European Inter-University Center for Human Rights & Democratisation (EIUC), Venice, Italy / Ruhr Universität-Bochum, Germany
European Masters of Arts in Human Rights & Democratisation
2007 - 2010   University of Northern Colorado, USA
Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice with dual minors in Media Studies and Philosophy


2010   International Student Scholarship (Fall 2010)
University of Northern Colorado, USA