Inequality Sharpens During Pandemic

Inequality sharpened during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly among vulnerable communities in Asia. This was the principal theme in the stories of the 10 finalists which they shared during the 2020-21 Journalism for an Equitable Asia Award. You can watch the event here. Top 10 journalists from Asia, whose articles made it to the final round, wrote how the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic affected workers in the informal sector. Already struggling under normal times, factory workers, home-based workers, sex workers, street vendors, transport workers—many of whom are women—suffered job losses and income deprivation leading to hardships. Already leading precarious lives, the…

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Getting To The Other Side of the Myanmar Coup

Asia Centre’s webinar, “Law and Lawlessness: Myanmar Coup and Human Rights” on 11 March 2021 discussed the 1 February 2021 Myanmar military coup. The event attracted over 88 participants and gathered over 1,000 views during its live-streaming  (watch here).The one and a half hours discussion centred on strategies of “getting to the other side” -  that is, end the protracted violence. Thereafter, assuming the military gives in and is cooperative, initiate an inclusive political process to draft a new constitution. This whole process of “getting to the other side” might take 10 to 15 years, if not longer.Asia Centre’s Regional…

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Strengthening Relationships with Taiwanese Institutions, Think-Tanks and Universities

In December 2019, Asia Centre Directors Drs. James Gomez, Robin Ramcharan, and Partnership Coordinator, Charlotte Yuchun Tseng participated in a series of events and meetings in Taiwan to strengthen relationships with Taiwanese institutions, think-thanks and universities in both Taipei and Kaohsiung. Starting in Taipei with the SEASIA biennial conference from 5-7 December at Academic Sinica, Drs. Gomez and Ramcharan presented their joint paper, “The ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR): Normative and Institutional Pathways towards an Enhanced Protection Role” during the panel on Human Rights in Southeast Asia. On the sidelines of the SEASIA conference, Asia Centre’s Dr. Gomez,…

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Malaysia Launch: Journalism for an Equitable Asia

The impact of media business sustainability and fear on journalists became the point of contention during the Malaysia launch event of the Journalism for an Equitable Asia Award on 18 December 2019.  Co-convened by Asia Centre and Oxfam in Asia and supported by local partners Gerakbudaya and Orchan Consulting Asia, the event brought together 30 participants from the media, academia and civil society to discuss the challenges of reporting on inequality. The aim of organising the Journalism for an Equitable Asia Award is to promote strong journalism and acknowledge the hard work of journalists who have persisted in reporting on…

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Sumitomo Grant Aids Asia Centre’s Engagements in Japan

Asia Centre’s Regional Director Dr. James Gomez delivered 5 public lectures, signed 2 MOUs and met with academics, researchers, politicians, lawyers and civil society representatives in Tokyo, Kyoto and Osaka from 17-28 November 2019. This Japan visit is part of Asia Centre’s “Research on Fake News and Lessons from Japan for Southeast Asia,” supported by the Sumitomo Foundation. The primary purpose was to present the findings of Asia Centre’s initial baseline study on fake news in Southeast Asia to Japanese institutions.  The trip started off with a technical briefing on 18 November 2019 at the Headquarters of Liberal Democratic Party…

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Asia Centre engages with Indian Universities and Think-Tanks

Over February to March 2019, Asia Centre will participate in several meetings organised by Indian universities and think-tanks in Kolkata.Kicking-off, Dr. James Gomez, Chair, Board of Directors, Asia Centre will be Calcutta’s University delegate to the Bengal Global Business Summit on 7th and 8th February 2019. The annual flagship event, organized by Government of West Bengal, is positioned as the business gateway to South-East Asia and North-East India. During the occasion, Asia Centre will sign an Memorandum of Understanding with Calcutta University to formalise cooperation between the two entities.A month later, from 8 to 9 March 2019, Tessa Allebas Asia…

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Asia Centre Reaches Out to Australian Networks

15 November 2018 - The return visit by Union Aid Abroad (APHEDA) Jill Biddington and Tom Addy to discuss collaboration marks Asia Centre successful outreach to activist networks in Australia.  Dr. James Gomez, Chair, Board of Directors of Asia Centre visited Sydney and Canberra from 16 to 21 October 2018 where he gave several public talks and engaged with academics and activists to build solidarity as well as identifying opportunities for policy advocacy in Australia for issues affecting Southeast Asia. At the University of Sydney, co-hosted by Sydney Southeast Asia Centre and Malaysia and Singapore Society of Australia (MASSA), Dr Gomez spoke on…

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IFC #4: Asia Centre marks UN Day with debate on “Rice before Rights”

International Faculty Club (24 October 2018) - The argument that development priorities take precedence over civil and political rights threatens to upend the international human rights movement, which has advocated for the indivisibility of economic, social and cultural rights (ESCRs) and civil and political rights (CIVPOL).  This argument is advanced by China and those attracted by its model of governance and growth. However, as Canadian Ambassador Donica Pottie noted pointed out during the roundtable on ‘Rice before Rights”, held on 24 October 2018, western countries share responsibility for this situation, as they chose to emphasize civil and political rights over ESCRs in their…

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Evaluating Competing “Democratic” Discourses: The Impact on Human Rights Protection in Southeast Asia

Gomez, James, and Robin Ramcharan (2014), Evaluating Competing “Democratic” Discourses: The Impact on Human Rights Protection in Southeast Asia, in: Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 33, 3, 49–77. Abstract This paper evaluates the impact of competing “democratic” discourses on human rights protection in Southeast Asia. The authors identify three key discourses emanating from a set of national governmental policies, advocacy positions promoted by both global and local civil society and international standards and procedures adopted by members of inter-governmental organisations. These discourses, the authors argue, are collectively shaping the emerging ASEAN inter-governmental human rights regime. The political impact of…

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Introduction: Democracy and Human Rights in Southeast Asia

Gomez, James, and Robin Ramcharan (2014), Introduction: Democracy and Human Rights in Southeast Asia, in: Journal of Current Southeast Asian Affairs, 33, 3, 3–17. Abstract Southeast Asia has been undergoing a transition to more democratic forms of governance over the last two decades. The 2007 Charter of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) stated that henceforth ASEAN would pursue democratic forms of governance, the rule of law and the attendant fundamental human rights, which are the hallmark of liberal democratic states. This major normative evolution is one chapter of ASEAN’s post-Cold War efforts to deepen its members’ interactions in…

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