UN human rights review is largely toothless – but it’s giving a boost to Asian civil society groups

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A United Nations initiative reviewing human rights records of countries around the world is indirectly strengthening civil society organisations in Southeast Asia by allowing them to participate in the process. But the groups are still blocked from ensuring human rights are meaningfully protected in their countries. The UN General Assembly established its Human Rights Council and introduced the universal periodic review of the human rights situation in member countries in 2006. The ten Southeast Asian countries that make up ASEAN – Brunei Darussalam, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam – have now undergone two cycles of review,…

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Working with People-Centred Processes: Art, Education & Cross-Sector Collaboration

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From October 14 to 17 2016, Asia Centre in partnership with International Forum for Inter-Media Art and Brack organised a cross-sector collaboration workshop. Conceptualised by Asia Centre Associate and iFima founder Dr Jay Koh, the 4 day conference cum workshop; explored how to stir civic consciousness and foster open social structures through public participation and engagement. The opening session on the 14th of October featured a discussion on Engaged Listening Across Fields of Practice with Dr Patama Satawedin (Som), Director of the Master of Communication Arts Programme at Bangkok University and Dr Jeremiah F. Morris, lecturer in Media and Communications at…

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Asia Centre Facilitates Focus On Life Discussion

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New York-based Japanese photographer and anti-death penalty activist Toshi Kazama held a photo exhibition and discussion of his work on 11 October 2016 at The Sukosol Hotel. Asia Centre facilitated the discussion and networking session following Mr Kazama’s presentation which focused on how he uses photography as a tool to express his point of view on human rights and specifically on the death penalty. A diverse crowd of about 35 people came together to listen to Mr Kazama narrate the stories behind each picture exhibited; those of people on death row and the execution methods in various countries. Asia Centre’s…

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Media & Communications Workshop 2016

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From 19 to 30 September 2016, Asia Centre held a Media & Communications Workshop for students from the University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh. The two week experiential learning programme was designed to give students an introduction to the Asian media landscape, hone their practical skills and undertake a multimedia project of their own. The programme kicked off with an orientation to the course and brainstorming for their media project under the guidance of Asia Centre’s Dr. James Gomez and Dr Robin. Ramcharan. The group then participated in a team building scavenger hunt to help them work together and learn to…

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1st International Conference (2016): Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in Southeast Asia, An Evidence-Based Regional Assessment

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The UPR has been an effective mechanism for putting human rights issues on the agenda and engaging states in conversation about critical issues. However, systemic problems remain with regards to engagement with other stakeholders, the implementation of recommendations by governments, the efficacy of follow up processes and the UPR’s ability to address hard political issues. These were key takeaways from Asia Centre’s conference, Universal Periodic Review in Southeast Asia: An Evidence-Based Regional Assessment, held from 15 to 17 September 2016 at Asia Centre’s premises in Bangkok.Asia Centre's first international conference on the Universal Periodic Review in Southeast Asia was held…

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Southeast Asian Studies Series – Call for Manuscripts

GerakBudaya and Asia Centre are pleased to announce the launch of a joint regional publications series which aims to focus upon the politics, history and culture of Southeast Asian societies.   Together we are launching a publications series on issues that matter to the peoples of the region.  The series will contribute to cross-disciplinary research and debate on the region and to highlighting new and innovative research on the region to a wider audience. Manuscripts are welcome from contributors who are critically examining contemporary issues and would like to reach a wider audience.   The Series In launching a Southeast Asian…

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Brexit: A Failure to Promote the European Union

UK voters were not properly informed by political leaders about the functions, institutions and powers of the EU, which has made a great contribution to the prosperity of the UK and peace in Europe. As a result, Britain’s referendum vote of 23 June 2016 ended up with a “leave the European Union (EU)” result – aka ‘Brexit’. This was the key conclusion from Asia Centre’s roundtable which attracted some 50 participants from academia, international organizations, the media, the NGO community, the public sector and the private sector.   The panel (L-R) was moderated by Asia Centre's Dr Robin Ramcharan and…

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Asia Centre to Focus on Human Rights Policy Analysis

Having established a presence and network in Bangkok in its first year, in its second year Asia Centre turns to its programmatic focus. This will centre on human rights policy analysis covering key regional and international institutions.   These are  the national human rights institutions, the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations Human Rights Council.   Asia Centre’s focus on human rights policy was highlighted during its one year anniversary commemorations with Bangkok based academics and civil society representatives. This provided an opportunity to catch up and thank all…

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Impunity waters down accountability in Southeast Asia

The provision of impunity to human rights violators is the biggest challenge for ensuring accountability. This was the general conclusion of the panelists at the event Confronting Elusiveness: Demanding Accountability in Southeast Asia.   The speakers from Indonesia, Philippines and Myanmar highlighted how in each of their respective countries human rights violators went on to occupy positions in different human rights mechanisms which watered the whole idea of holding such violators accountable.   Speakers featured at the event included, Galuh Wandita, Co-founder and Director at Asia Justice and Rights (AJAR), Aung Khaing Min, Advocacy and Research Officer Burma Partnership and…

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Asia Centre: Regional Representative for Malaysian Publisher Gerakbudaya

Asia Centre has signed a partnership with Malaysian Publisher Gerakbudaya to be its regional representative in Thailand. Moving forward, Asia Centre will commission, edit, launch a publication series, distribute and sell books on Southeast Asian studies.     The publication series will explore critical issues impacting Southeast Asia as well as the region’s linkages to the rest of the world. The aim is to contribute to research and discussions on regional matters which are alternative and can highlight new and important issues to a wider audience.   The Centre will also act as a bookshop and has started featuring a…

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