Type of Work

Research Paper - Limited Access

Publication Date



Environmental security is the study of how environmental factors such as degradation, stress, and scarcity can cause or intensify human conflict and instability. This paper examines migration as a link between environmental problems and conflict. Two historical cases studies from 1970s-1990s Bangladesh were investigated, the preexisting socioeconomic and political factors were taken into account, and the literature of traditional migration and conflict as well as the literature on environmental security were applied. In Case Study #1 environmental migrants moved to the mountainous and historically isolated Chittagong Hill Tracts. Armed conflict between the militia of the indigenous residents, the migrants, and the Bangladeshi military broke out due to the Bangladeshi government’s migration initiatives to change the demographics of the non-Bengali and non-Muslim region it perceived to be be a threat to the stability of the country. In Case Study #2, environmental migrants moved to urban centers in Bangladesh like Dhaka and armed conflict did not break out because no indigenous parties were displaced and the state of Bangladeshi had not prioritized the migrants over established urban residents. The circumstances of the cases are unique and no general framework or solution for environmental conflict or environmental migration can be extrapolated, but the paper seeks to add to the growing body of qualitative environmental security literature.

Hamilton Areas of Study


Hamilton Sponsoring Organization

Levitt Public Affairs Center

Hamilton Scholarship Series

Levitt Summer Research Fellowship

Hamilton Faculty Advisor

Erica DeBruin