Asia Centre and Monash University co-host Roundtable on the Rohingya Crisis

Asia Centre and Monash University co-hosted a roundtable on the Rohingya Crisis on 15 December 2017, which was held at the National Centre for South Asian Studies at Monash. Experts and discussants pondered the causes and the future of the humanitarian efforts, including the November 2017 agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar for the return of over 700,000 Rohingya to Rakhine State. Whereas the UN and wider international community have responded within constrained parameters, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) appears to be impotent in the face of one of the worse cases of gross and massive violations of human…

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Ambassador of Bangladesh Highlights Rohingya Crisis in Human Rights Dialogue at Asia Centre

The desperate plight of the Rohingya people in Myanmar was raised by the Ambassador of Bangladesh, H.E. Ms. Saida Muna Tasneem during an address at Asia Centre to youth from South Asia and Thailand. As Bangladesh bore the brunt of the influx of refugees, Ambassador Tasneem made an impassioned plea for the world and Southeast Asia to both care about and act resolutely to address the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar, which the international community has called “Ethnic Cleansing”. The United States has also labeled the situation ‘ethnic cleansing’.   It will be recalled that over 600,000 Rohingya refugees have fled…

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Innovative Initiatives for Sustainable Development at UN SDG Week

On Thursday 30 November, Asia Centre participated in the SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Week organized by UN’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.     This year’s event focused on innovation – integration – inclusiveness and implementing the 2030 agenda for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific. The SDG Week brought together government organizations, intergovernmental partners and agencies, regional organizations, businesses, think tanks, academia and other stakeholders to engage in discussions on effective implementation of the SDGs.   Throughout the SDG week Asia Centre showcased its work at the Pavilion of Partnerships alongside other social enterprises,…

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IFC #3: Innovative Research on Display

Four speakers came forward to share their research interests in their respective fields at AsiaCentre's third International Faculty Club (IFC) Night. They spoke on a variety of topics, including niche areas such as on representations of Tibetan Buddhism in contemporary China, women's entrepreneurship and digital technologies and linguistics.   Jingyu (Forrest) Huang, introduced his study on a three-dimensional Buddhist Mandala in Pule Temple, in Chengde, China, and the understandings of these works in contemporary China. He shared his keen interest in the art history of Tibetan Buddhism.  He is a Master’s student at the College of Religious Studies of Mahidol University.   Gender, migration and entrepreneurship was…

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Freedom of Religion and Belief in Southeast Asia: Evidence Based Research in Support of Regional Networks

The challenges to freedom of religion or belief (FoRB) emanating from analysis of the Universal Periodic Review of Southeast Asia were outlined by Asia Centre’s Dr. Robin Ramcharan at the third Southeast Asia FoRB (SEA ForB) conference in Manila from 7 to 8 November 2017. In the lead up to this conference, Asia Centre undertook a regional analysis of these challenges in collaboration with the International Panel of Parliamentarians for FoRB (IPPForB).   The Universal Periodic Review revealed a number of region-wide issues: rise in FoRB based violence against non-dominant religions, non-alignment of domestic legislation with international standards, faith-based governmental…

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Asia Centre Joins Anti-Death Penalty Asia Network (ADPAN)

Asia Centre is pleased to announce its membership in ADPAN, which works towards abolishing the death penalty in Southeast Asia and beyond, on the occasion of the 15th world anti-death penalty day on October 10, 2017.  Southeast Asia has seen a resurgence in the use of the death penalty in recent years, notably in Malaysia and Singapore. Whereas it has been abolished in the Philippines since 2006, the current government seeks to re-instate its use. Indonesia and Vietnam appear to use this sentence liberally. Moratoria remain in other parts of the region. The right to life is guaranteed under international…

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Impact of the UPR on the Protection of Human Rights in Southeast Asia

In its ongoing work on the impact of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the Human Rights Council on the protection of human rights in Southeast Asia, Asia Centre convened a focus group to discuss its research findings for a baseline study on this mechanism.  Held on October 6, 2017, the session was facilitated by Asia Centre’s Dr. Robin Ramcharan and it included participants from national, regional and international organisations.   Civil society and other stakeholders noted during the discussions that since the UPR is a dialogue mechanism that States are comfortable with, it might be effectively harnessed as a…

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Freedom of Religion or Belief Threatened in Southeast Asia

Reports jointly produced by Asia Centre and International Panel of Parliamentarians for Freedom of Religion (IPPFoRB) reveal serious challenges to religious freedom in Southeast Asia.  The 11 country reports were released at IPPFoRB’s conference for ASEAN Parliamentarians  held in Bangkok  on 7th and 8th October 2017.  Dr. Robin Ramcharan of Asia Centre coordinated the research on behalf of IPPFoRB.   Looking at all the ASEAN countries, the research shows that religious freedom appears to be regressing in Southeast Asia.  Serious challenges have arisen in recent years across the region, such as in Brunei, Indonesia and Malaysia, according to the reports.…

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Engaging the Vietnamese Diaspora on Human Rights Issues

Asia Centre, a neutral and independent think-tank, participated in the “International Youth Conference, Vietnam: Pathway to Humanity”, held in Sydney, Australia from 7 to 10 September 2017. The Centre’s Programme Coordinator Michelle D’cruz  exchanged views and ideas with diaspora communities on how they can bolster human rights activism and advocacy efforts within Vietnam.   The conference discussions identified and unpacked three critical issues impacting the rights movement in Vietnam: challenges to FoRB, deaths in police custody, as well as the overarching issues of shrinking civil society space and the climate of fear this engenders for activists within Vietnam and their…

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IFC #2: International Faculty Club Gathers Momentum

Asia Centre’s International Faculty Club gained momentum as people gathered for the second installment dedicated to interdisciplinary discourse and networking. Held on 1 Sep at Asia Centre’s premises, the event attracted about 25 participants from different academic and professional backgrounds, all keen to engage on subject matters outside of their comfort zones. Six speakers took to the floor to share their research and experience on a range of issues from philosophy to architecture,  to fundraising and on environmental governance.Eva Rappoport, a Mahidol University Ph.D student, presented her research on spirit possession in Javanese culture, set to the backdrop of a…

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