Peacemakers Trust posts news, reports or announcements of interest to people studying or working in the field of dispute resolution, conflict transformation and peacebuilding. Inclusion of an item on the media watch blog does not imply endorsement or agreement of Peacemakers Trust with views expressed by authors of posted items.
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 18:57 PDT
5 May 2013
By Anna Bressanin, producer. Camera by Ilya Shnitser
Arn Chorn-Pond was a child in Cambodia when the Khmer Rouge came to power in 1975. Born into a family of artists and musicians, he was sent to a children’s labour camp where he escaped death by playing his flute for the camp guards…
As a Cambodian-American, he considers the festival his personal answer to the US bombing of Cambodia. “The US bombed Cambodia,” he says. “I am carpeting New York with artists.”
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Ernie Fraser @ 21:13 PDT
1 May 2013
By Olga Khazan
We often talk about “the Islamic world,” or the “Muslim community,” but sometimes it takes being smacked with an enormous, amazing data dump to remind us that Muslims are actually an incredibly diverse group — if you can call them a group — who adhere to views that are informed by their cultural and political context as much as their religion.
For their mammoth new study about the world’s Muslims, the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life interviewed more than 38,000 Muslims in 39 countries on topics ranging from morality, to politics and justice, and the relationships between the sexes.
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Ernie Fraser @ 08:26 PDT
9 April 2013
By Alvin Powell
“We have people say: ‘We want to know what happened to our family,’ ” said Phuong Pham, a research scientist at Harvard (pictured in Cambodia in 2008). Pham and fellow Harvard researcher Patrick Vinck have been conducting surveys of Cambodians’ attitudes toward trials of former Khmer Rouge officials. The trials — Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia — are currently under way.
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:00 PDT
5 April 2013
By Jimmy Carter
It is an honor and pleasure for Rosalynn and me to come to Myanmar, a country that we have wished to visit for many years.
I have been eager to learn more about your country’s ongoing transition process — towards democracy, peace, human rights, and economic development for all citizens.
During my visit, I have had the opportunity to meet with: President U Thein Sein, the Speaker of the Lower House, the Union Election Commission, members of the Cabinet, the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi and other leaders of political parties, ethnic community representatives, former political prisoners, the National Human Rights Commission, civil society organizations, farmers, the media, and religious leaders.
I am grateful to all of these people for sharing their thoughts with me — their aspirations for the future, and their concerns about the challenges your country is facing.
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:04 PDT
28 March 2013
Thai authorities and Muslim rebels leaders have started peace talks aimed at ending almost a decade of unrest in the country’s far south, as fresh violence killed at least five people.
The talks on Thursday with representatives from the Barisan Revolusi Nasional (BRN) insurgent group, expected to last one day, will focus on reducing bloodshed, Thai National Security Council chief Paradorn Pattanatabut said, warning the overall peace process would take time.
“Today’s main focus is to reduce violence. Today we will focus on building mutual trust and good relations,” Paradorn told reporters in the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, where the meeting was being held.
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:02 PDT
20 February 2013
Asia Times Online
By Jason Johnson
PATTANI – A new sign appeared throughout the insurgency-torn provinces of Thailand’s ethnic Malay-Muslim minority region in December. The three heads of the Provincial Islamic Committees from the southern provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat are pictured with the message: “We ask for the support [of insurgents] to come out and talk [with authorities] for peace.”
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 13:03 PDT
18 February 2013
By Kavi Chongkittavorn
If everything goes well – and it is a big if – by the end of this month in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia could broker a framework peace plan between the Thai government and southern Thai-Malay insurgents to begin a peace dialogue. But it is not a done deal. Rather, it is a work in progress showing for the first time that Thailand and Malaysia are working closely together to bring a long lasting solution to the restive deep South after years of unfulfilled promises.
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 06:12 PDT
6 December 2012
By Kate Woodsome
WASHINGTON — When I lived in Cambodia, I got into a lot of fights. I’d protest the fruit seller who was overcharging me for mangoes because I was American. I’d wave my hands at the police officer who fined me for driving on the correct side of the road. I’d get angry with doctors at the “free” clinic for charging poor patients for drugs.
My Cambodian boyfriend usually just watched and shook his head.
But when we went to the Justice Ministry to get papers for his U.S. visa application, he told me not to fight. Not this time. Just go with it, he said, as he handed money to the clerk to get his papers the same day.
It made me wonder, why do people accept corruption that’s exploiting them? Why defend a government that runs off bribes or nepotism?
“We rationalize the status quo because it reassures us that things are under control and we’re going to be able to have a predictable life,” says Justin Friesen, a doctoral candidate at Ontario’s University of Waterloo and co-author of “Why Do People Defend Unjust, Inept and Corrupt Systems,” published in Current Directions in Psychological Science.
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:11 PDT
6 December 2012
By Mong Palatino
U.S. President Barack Obama’s historic visit to Burma and the 21st Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Phnom Penh dominated news coverage in the region during the past month — and rightly so. Obama’s Burma trip put a global spotlight on the reforms being implemented by the civilian government in that country, while the ASEAN Summit exposed the continuing failure of the regional grouping to address the maritime disputes between China and several ASEAN member countries over the South China Sea.
But aside from these issues, the month of November was also memorable because of the phenomenal protests that took place across Southeast Asia. For example: The anti-government Pitak Siam (Protect Thailand) network mobilized 20,000 people in Bangkok; more than 15,000 participants joined Malaysia’s “Green Walk”; a bus strike in Singapore, the first labor strike in the city in almost three decades, stunned the city-state; and a peaceful protest camp set up by monks and farmers to oppose a copper mine project was brutally dispersed by Burmese riot police.
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:18 PDT
5 December 2012
A growing outcry over corrupt governments forced several leaders from office last year, but as the dust has cleared it has become apparent that the levels of bribery, abuse of power and secret dealings are still very high in many countries. Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2012 shows corruption continues to ravage societies around the world.
Two thirds of the 176 countries ranked in the 2012 index score below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean), showing that public institutions need to be more transparent, and powerful officials more accountable.
“Governments need to integrate anti-corruption actions into all public decision-making. Priorities include better rules on lobbying and political financing, making public spending and contracting more transparent and making public bodies more accountable to people,” said Huguette Labelle, the Chair of Transparency International.
“After a year of focus on corruption, we expect governments to take a tougher stance against the abuse of power. The Corruption Perceptions Index 2012 results demonstrate that societies continue to pay the high cost of corruption,” Labelle said.
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 07:17 PDT
International Peace Institute
By Anna Magnusson and Morten B. Pedersen
The UN Secretary-General’s good offices on Myanmar, now in their twentieth year, have been one of the longest such diplomatic efforts in the history of the organization. With Myanmar now in the midst of major political, economic, and social reforms, and questions invariably being raised about the future of those “offices,” it is an opportune time to revisit the history and achievements of the past twenty years of mediation efforts.
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 05:59 PDT
21 November 2012
Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life
By Brian J. Grim
Several recent incidents have drawn international attention to laws and policies prohibiting blasphemy – remarks or actions considered to be contemptuous of God or the divine. In a highly publicized case last summer, for example, a 14-year-old Christian girl in Pakistan was arrested and detained for several weeks after she was accused of burning pages from the Quran. In neighboring India, a man reputed to be a religious skeptic is facing blasphemy charges because he claimed a statue of Jesus venerated by Mumbai’s Catholic community for its miraculous qualities is a fake. The man reportedly is staying in Europe to avoid prosecution. In Greece, a man was arrested and charged with blasphemy after he posted satirical references to an Orthodox Christian monk on Facebook.
Pakistan, India and Greece are not alone in actively pursuing blasphemy prosecutions. A new analysis by the Pew Research Center’s Forum on Religion & Public Life finds that as of 2011 nearly half of the countries and territories in the world (47%) have laws or policies that penalize blasphemy, apostasy (abandoning one’s faith) or defamation (disparagement or criticism of particular religions or religion in general).
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 23:12 PDT
17 November 2012
By Patricia DeBoer
On Monday, President Obama is expected to become the first sitting U.S. president to visit Myanmar (Burma), the strongest endorsement yet of the country’s reform efforts. There is no doubt that tremendous political change has taken place in Myanmar, including the election of opposition party members – among them Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi – to the new government. Washington has lifted long-standing sanctions and normalized relations with the once-isolated country.
We at the American Friends Service Committee, which has quietly provided humanitarian assistance inside Myanmar since 2005, welcome these developments, even though they come against a backdrop of violence that threatens to destabilize Myanmar once more…
We urge Obama to use this trip to start framing a policy aimed at peace and reconciliation. Such a policy must have two cornerstones…
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:23 PDT
17 November 2012
HE WILL be on the ground for less than a day. Still, when Barack Obama arrives in Myanmar on November 19th, one leg of a three-country South-East Asian tour, it will be quite a moment: the first ever visit to the country by a sitting American president, which sets the seal on one of the fastest rehabilitations of a former American foe.
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 21:45 PDT
12 November 2012
CHIANG MAI – Civil society groups in Asia are calling for a review of donor-funded peace initiatives in Myanmar, expressing concern that their pace is too fast, they pay little heed to the humanitarian cost of economic development, and may do more harm than good.
“Most of the conflict, human rights abuse and environmental destruction [are] directly involved with planned resource extractions in ethnic areas,” said Wong Aung, an adviser for the Shwe Gas Movement, a watchdog NGO based near the Thai-Burmese border in Chiang Mai, which was set up in response to the exploitation of gas deposits off the coast of Arakan State in western Myanmar.
The NGO is part of the Burma Partnership, an alliance of 16 activist and civil society groups throughout Southeast and East Asia that commends the “well-intentioned” peace funds, but fears they can undermine long-term stability in conflict-affected border areas heavily populated by ethnic minorities. “If… environmental concerns or human rights violations are overlooked, the security situation on the ground will never be resolved,” Wong Aung added.
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 15:10 PDT
28 October 2012
By Khuon Narim and Dene-Hern Chen
Chet Borei district, Kratie province – Sitting at his outpost overlooking the Mekong River, Deab Kuy remembers an incident some years ago when fishermen threatened to attack him if they were stopped from casting their nets around the river’s sandy islets here in Sambok commune.
The outpost, little more than a wooden house on the banks of the Mekong, is one of 15 set up in Kratie and Stung Treng provinces where a total of 77 unarmed “river guards” monitor local fishing communities in an effort to protect the area’s endangered freshwater dolphins.
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 14:16 PDT
4 October 2012
A veteran peace advocate is proposing a new platform for political dialogue and peace with key issues such as charter amendment and decentralisation being discussed in a bid to create an environment conducive to finding a way out of the long-running, polarised conflict.
Gothom Arya, lecturer in human rights and peace studies at Mahidol University, said he began his year-long “Platform for a Peaceful and Democratic Thailand” project in February and plans to put forward some ideas for national discussion on Oct 27 and 28.
The project, sponsored indirectly by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), focuses on four issues — participatory constitutional amendment, equality and dignity, education for civility, and decentralisation.
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:12 PDT
23 October 2012
Malaysia Business Insight
By NESTOR MATA
THE peacemakers of the decades-old conflict in Mindanao will soon find out that making peace is much harder than making war.
When the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front signed last week the “Framework Agreement” that drew the outlines of a peace pact to end the violent insurgency in the southern region of the country, MILF’s chief Murad Ebrahim banged a miniature Muslim gong and declared, “This is the sound of peace!” President Aquino hailed it as “a chance to finally achieve genuine, lasting peace.”
That landmark agreement may have heartened peace-loving peoples here in the Philippines and other countries in the world, but paving the path to peace and ending more than 40 years of bloody conflict in Mindanao is not going to be an easy task. The signing of that document does not in itself guarantee an end to the fighting there. There are plenty of obstacles still to be hurdled by the government and the MILF leadership.
Filed under: Uncategorized — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:02 PDT
19 October 2012
The man who was variously Cambodia's anti-colonial leader, king, prime minister, prince, and exiled figurehead is inseparable from his country's modern history, says David Chandler.
By David Chandler
The death of Norodom Sihanouk in Beijing on 15 October 2012 marks the end of one of the most remarkable careers in international politics over the last century. The former king of Cambodia packed so many lives into his 89 years. A full accounting of his legacy is for the future, but his passing offers the opportunity for a tentative assessment of how this mercurial, passionate figure might be remembered…