‘Exploring the Nexus between Framing and Conflict Resolution’: The Rohingya Conflict and the Limitations of the ‘ASEAN Way’
The central aim of this study is to explore ASEAN’s approach to the resolution of the Rohingya conflict between 2017-2020. The approach of the Association to the resolution of the conflict is investigated through a thorough analysis of the body’s “frame package” – a cluster of implicit and explicit frames applied by the Association to convey its perception on the conflict and the paths to its resolution. According to the assumptions of the scholarship on conflict resolution, the way actors involved in a given conflict frame and perceive the conflicting issues allows one to identify their approach to conflict resolution. Thus, in essence, the current study attempts to identify the nexus between ASEAN’s conflict framing and its approach to the resolution of the Rohingya conflict. In order to do so, the project distinguishes the frames applied by the Association from the frames employed by the international humanitarian community [IHC]. An Interpretative Content Analysis is conducted on a number of purposively-selected documents issued by various agencies and representatives of IHC and ASEAN. The main findings of the research support the thesis’ central assumption that the approach of ASEAN to the resolution of the conflict is limited due to the constraining/regulating effects of the “ASEAN Way” of decision-making, i.e., the body’s corporate culture and the main norms embedded in it, such as the norm of non-interference in domestic affairs of states and the resulted tradition of refraining from publicly criticising the actions of the Member States.