Sunday, 23 September 2012

The Rohingya: Roots of violence, hatred run deep

Filed under: Human Rights,Myanmar,Religion and peacebuilding,South Asia,Southeast Asia,Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:01 PDT

Much has been written lately, either empathetically or as a challenge, of Myanmar’s “Rohingya problem”. Since early June, the Rohingya have borne the brunt of communal violence, human rights violations, and an urgent humanitarian situation in Rakhine State, and face an uncertain future. But when considered more closely, is that all? What really is the problem?

The events of this year, as well as the violent events of 1978, 1992, 2001, and 2009, are attributable to systemic discrimination against the Rohingya in Myanmar. That is, to a political, social, and economic system—manifested in law, policy, and practices—designed to discriminate against this ethnic and religious minority. This system makes such direct violence against the Rohingya far more possible and likely than it would otherwise be. Further, in the eyes of the Myanmar authorities at least—as evidenced by the lack of accountability for the civilians and officials alike—discrimination also makes the violence and violations somehow justifiable. That is the problem.

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Monday, 10 September 2012

Thailand: Prof. Dr. Chaiwat’s submission of peace message to southern insurgents

Filed under: Media and Conflict,News Watch Blog,Peaceworkers in the news,Southeast Asia,Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:52 PDT

Prof. Dr. Chaiwat Satha-Anand, a political scientist at Thammasat University and a prominent peace scholar, spoke at a seminar on “Peace Dialogue in ASEAN Context” on 7 September 2012 at Prince of Songkhla University at Hat Yai. He delivered a peace massage to southern insurgents in English. Here is his full speech:

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Friday, 31 August 2012

An Unconventional Road to Peace

Filed under: Myanmar,Peaceworkers in the news,Southeast Asia,Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 21:40 PDT

MAE SOT, Thailand – In a country where talk of a ceasefire brings representatives from 11 different armed ethnic groups to the table, Myanmar’s chief peace negotiator, Railway Minister Aung Min, is experimenting with an unusual solution to decades of separatist struggles.

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Wednesday, 15 August 2012

ASEAN: Chartering human rights

Filed under: Cambodia,Human Rights,Myanmar,Southeast Asia,Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:03 PDT

Mid-July saw ASEAN sink to unprecedented depths when leaders failed to issue a joint communiqué at its latest Ministerial Meeting in Cambodia because of disagreement over reference to the South China Sea dispute with China. Unsurprisingly, the Indonesian foreign minister called this latest roadblock to “ASEAN consensus” “utterly irresponsible”.

ASEAN consensus focuses on agreement among the governments of member states instead of consensus with the population. It routinely avoids and even suppresses public participation in key debates and initiatives relevant to the public interest. Nowhere is this more evident than the process of drafting an ASEAN human rights declaration.

The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) is tasked with drafting the declaration, but has done this largely behind tightly closed doors. Limited consultations with civil society organizations have been held in some member states, and at no point was a draft published, leaving the public and human rights groups in the dark. There has only been one formal consultation at the regional level, but participation has been heavily restricted and the draft declaration was not published.

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Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Halifax | ADR Institute of Canada National Conference; October 25-26, 2012

Filed under: Conferences, Events,Dispute resolution and negotiation,Southeast Asia,Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 17:00 PDT

Thursday, 25 October 2012 to Friday, 26 October 2012

ADR Institute of Canada’s Annual National Conference; October 25-26, 2012; Halifax

Date: October 25, 2012 to October 26, 2012

Keynote speaker: The Honourable Mr. Justice Thomas Albert Cromwell, Supreme Court of Canada; plus over 20 sessions in four specialty streams: Building an Effective ADR Business, ADR in the Workplace, Challenge and Innovation in ADR, and Family and Community ADR.

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Friday, 22 June 2012

Asean’s Tricky Human Rights Charter

Filed under: Cambodia,Human Rights,Myanmar,Southeast Asia,Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 14:34 PDT

Like the previous Asean Charter which was finally enacted towards the end of 2008, the drafting process for the proposed Asean Declaration for Human Rights (ADHR) has been an arduous one.

The five-page draft was completed by the Asean Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) in Burma last week after long negotiation sessions over controversial phrases and future implications of the region’s first declaration on human rights.

At this juncture it is an imperfect document yet due to be vetted by Asean foreign ministers next month. The Asean chair, Cambodia, wants a final draft to be approved at the 21st Asean Summit in November. Time is running out to consider input from various civil society organizations (CSOs).

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Saturday, 12 May 2012

Pillay urges ASEAN to set the bar high with its regional human rights declaration

Filed under: Cambodia,Human Rights,Myanmar,Southeast Asia,Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:10 PDT

GENEVA – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay on Friday offered her encouragement to ASEAN (the Association of Southeast Asian Nations) in drafting a regional human rights declaration, but called for a meaningful consultation on the draft with the widest spectrum of people in the region before it is presented to ASEAN’s foreign ministers in July.

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Friday, 9 December 2011

Big Dam Project Delayed on Mekong

Filed under: Cambodia,Environment,Southeast Asia,Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:10 PDT

BANGKOK—A contentious $3.5 billion dam project on the Mekong River was put on hold again Thursday as nations called for further study of the environmental effects, a setback for Laos’s plan to reinvent itself as the hydropower battery of Southeast Asia.

The Mekong River Commission, comprising Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam, said in a statement that member governments had agreed to study the implications on the Xayaburi dam project further before giving Laos the go-ahead to continue construction—the second delay to the project this year.

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Thursday, 8 December 2011

Upsala Conflict Data Program: Major data release

On 8 December, 2011, the UCDP released its latest addition to its vast number of datasets; the UCDP GED version 1.0-2011. The UCDP GED is an event-based and georeferenced dataset on organized violence, detailing all of the UCDP’s categories of violence (state-based conflict, non-state conflict and one-sided violence) in Africa between 1989 and 2010 at the level of the individual event of violence.

Also on 8 December, 2011, the UCDP released new data on external support in internal armed conflicts for the time period 1975-2009.

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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

An Army of Giant Rats Unearths Peace in Africa

Filed under: Africa files,Cambodia,Disarmament,Southeast Asia,Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 08:06 PDT

It takes a true visionary to see a Buddhist monk deploying a pack of giant rats as the solution to the devastating danger posed by landmines.

Every few hours, another person is killed or maimed by a landmine. Even in areas removed from active conflict, landmines are more than just distressing reminders of former bloodshed — they’re hidden hazards that terrorize populations and freeze development.

Identifying, unearthing, and disarming these explosives is dangerous and daunting. Despite record clearances, more countries deployed anti-personnel mines last year than in any year since 2004.

But one social innovator has risen to the challenge — with the help of a few hundred friends. The innovator is the industrial engineer, Buddhist monk, and Ashoka Fellow Bart Weetjens.

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Sunday, 6 November 2011

Reporting on violence and emergencies: regional media conference for South-east and East Asia

Filed under: Media and Conflict,Southeast Asia,Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:49 PDT

The media of East Asia, South-east Asia and the Pacific have an important role to play in covering conflict, violence and the issues faced by vulnerable groups. At times, reporting on these situations puts the media’s own safety at risk. Bringing together senior representatives of media organizations from the region, a conference hosted by the ICRC aims to advance discussion on these topics and facilitate the sharing of best practices and recommendations… more

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Friday, 2 September 2011

Bangkok: Asia Pacific Mediation Leadership: From Talk To Action | 2-4 December 2011 | Call for papers

Filed under: Conferences, Events,Dispute resolution and negotiation,South Asia,Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:13 PDT

Friday, 2 December 2011 to Sunday, 4 December 2011

“FROM TALK TO ACTION’ – PROGRESSING BEYOND THE TYPICAL CONFERENCE TOWARDS STRATEGIC ACTION COLLABORATIONS TO ADVANCE MEDIATION, CONFLICT TRANSFORMATION AND PEACEBUILDING PROCESSES IN ASIA PACIFIC

Since 2001, the APMF has organised four successful Mediation Conferences throughout the Asia Pacific region in Australia, Singapore, Fiji and Malaysia. Traditionally, these conferences have provided an exceptional opportunity for an array of academics, policy makers, practitioners and students from diverse countries to share their knowledge and skills while building networks in a stimulating environment. During the 4th APMF Mediation Conference in Malaysia (2008), participants’ identified the need for access to a “collaborative strategic dialogue and action planning space” in which they could collectively and more comprehensively contribute to the advancement of mediation, other conflict transformation and peacebuilding processes in the region. The APMF Executive and Summit Coordination Committee are committed to provide this vital “space” through a collaborative Summit that offers opportunities for stimulating dialogue (e.g. discussions with renowned international, regional, national experts and professional colleagues); knowledge building and skills sharing (e.g. course, field trip and mentoring opportunities, sharing research findings, etc.); the identification and engagement of cross-cutting and themed Mediation Action Groups; the design and implementation of strategic Mediation Action Plans; and through dynamic networking opportunities. Collaboratively designed and driven by proactive delegates, the Summit process and resulting outcomes have real potential to contribute to and advance mediation, other conflict transformation and peacebuilding processes in culturally fluent ways across the Asia Pacific region.

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Saturday, 6 August 2011

Africa: Growing Economic Powers Reinvigorate South-South Co-Operation

Filed under: Africa files,South Asia,Southeast Asia,Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:25 PDT
The benefits of south-south co-operation (developing countries sharing resources) are appearing in a fresh light. Emerging economies, notably China and India, are grabbing headlines as growing financial powers that are substantially increasing their investments in Africa and Asia. Justifiably so, as together the two countries account for one-fifth of the global economy and are projected to represent a full third of the world’s income by 2025.
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Friday, 15 July 2011

Evicted squatters step up demands for land

Filed under: Human Rights,Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:56 PDT

Hundreds of squatters evicted by armed men from a disused factory site in Pathum Thani last weekend have taken occupation of a government building at Chaeng Wattana instead.

They are refusing to leave until the government delivers on its promises to help the landless poor.

The rights group behind the squatters has also called on landless poor from elsewhere in the country to occupy state-owned properties to force the government’s hand.

The landless squatters are from the North and Northeast and are involved in a dispute between a rights group fighting on their behalf, which promised them homes, and government agencies which they claim failed to deliver on promise to provide them with land…

Mr Kamta [Kamta, a 63-year-old rubber farmer from Ubon Ratchathani]… arrived at the Pathum Thani site near Paholyothin Highway in May.

He lost his 30 rai of land in Ubon Ratchathani a few years ago, when it was found to overlap with the newly declared Buntarik-Yodmon wildlife sanctuary.

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Thursday, 14 July 2011

Gender inequality isn’t a “women’s issue”

Filed under: gender,Human Rights,Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 09:19 PDT

Ottawa residents scanning recent headlines could be forgiven for thinking they live in a post-feminist age: France’s Christine Lagarde is now managing director of the International Monetary Fund; German Chancellor Angela Merkel is deemed one of the most influential women in the world; and even Thailand has just elected its first ever female Prime Minister in Yingluck Shinawatra.

But behind each of those headlines lie more sobering reminders: that the infinitely qualified Lagarde attained her position due to the allegations of sexual assault against her male predecessor; that gender stereotypes remain so ingrained in Germany that women’s workforce participation is declining; and that Thailand remains a known destination for child sex tourism.

Here at home, although the recent ascension of an unprecedented three female leaders to the rank of premier has been greeted as groundbreaking, and our newly elected federal parliament is now one-quarter female, women’s representation at all levels of politics remains well under the 30 per cent threshold believed to provide sufficient critical mass to auger significant changes to public policy.

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Friday, 8 July 2011

Thai victims of human trafficking can stay in Canada

Filed under: Business, Human Rights, Environment,Human Rights,Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:14 PDT

Nineteen 19 Thai farm workers who were victims of human trafficking are being allowed to stay in Canada another two years so they’ll have time to apply for permanent residency.

In what could be a precedent-setting case, the workers no longer face being sent to jail or deported.

The workers paid recruiters in Thailand up to $10,000 each to bring them to Canada to work for employers who in some cases were abusive.

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Thursday, 7 July 2011

Diaspora Peacebuilding Capacity: Women in Exile on the Thai/Burmese Border

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs,gender,Human Rights,Myanmar,Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 10:26 PDT

Abstract : This paper is a gendered analysis of peacebuilding capacity in the context of forced migration… This study of women from Burma in exile reinforces the need to implement UNSCR 1325 in a way that strengthens the peace capacity of diaspora women?s organizations in host countries as well as those at home.

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Saturday, 11 June 2011

CAMBODIA-THAILAND: Border dispute hits de-mining efforts

Filed under: Cambodia,Disarmament,Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 14:49 PDT

BANGKOK – Cambodia’s ongoing border dispute with Thailand is undermining mine-clearance activities inside the country, specialists say.

“The lack of clearance along parts of the border stops the removal of mines, leading to more casualties,” Cameron Imber, programme manager for the British demining NGO Halo Trust, told IRIN from the northwestern town of Siem Reap.

The heavily mined border area in the country’s northwest includes a 1,065km long minefield known as “K5″, which runs along the 798km Thai-Cambodian border. Laid by the north Vietnamese in the mid-1980s, K5 runs all the way from Koh Kong Province in the southwest up to Preah Vihear in the northwest.

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Thursday, 26 May 2011

Cambodia to attend int’l trial on land dispute

Filed under: Cambodia,Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 21:04 PDT

Cambodia will delegate Deputy Prime Minister Hor Namhong to attend the International Court of Justice (ICJ) trial over its dispute with Thailand about Preah Vihear temple, scheduled to open in Hague, the Netherlands, from May 30-31.

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Friday, 18 March 2011

Thailand’s volatile Deep South – a forgotten humanitarian emergency

Filed under: Thailand — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 16:35 PDT

Almost two people, most of them civilians, have died every day in Thailand’s Deep South since 2004 when a long-running separatist rebellion took a more violent turn.

More than 7,000 have also been injured, and the impact of the violence on the wider community has been equally dramatic

Yet, the Deep South, just a few hours’ drive from Thailand’s popular beaches, rarely grabs the attention of aid agencies or the media – it causes barely a ripple unless the deaths are grisly.

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