The Rohingya Crisis: Asia Centre Deliberates Solutions to the Crisis at Conference in Bangladesh

Asia Centre contributed to the search for solutions to the humanitarian crisis in Myanmar and Bangaldesh during the International Conference on the Rohingya Refugee Crisis: Towards Sustainable Solutions, held in Dhaka from 2-3 April 2018.   The conference revealed Bangladesh’s pressing search for assistance with the humanitarian crisis, its concern over the implications - economic, ecological, political and social - of hosting over one million Rohingya for the long term, and its search for durable solutions (e.g. safe repatriation), which ultimately lie in Myanmar.   In this context, Dr. Robin Ramcharan examined the role of ASEAN in the crisis. He…

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Third Annual Benedict Anderson Memorial Roundtable

In discussions on contemporary South-East Asian politics, a gap exists between the growing discourse on nationalism and national leadership and the gendered perspective on Benedict Anderson’s narrative on nationalism. To address this gap, a diverse and experienced panel, together with an audience of around 35 attendees, held a ‘conversation’ on multiple interconnected issues surrounding feminism, nationalist expression, political control, and women’s leadership in the post-modern political landscape.   The occasion was the annual Benedict Anderson Memorial Roundtable, held on 19 January 2018. Asia Centre hosts the annual Benedict Anderson Memorial Roundtable to honour the significance of the late professor’s contribution to…

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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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China’s One Belt, One Road Initiative: What Role for Southeast Asia?

The role of Southeast Asia in China’s one belt, one road vision for its relations with Asia, Africa and Europe was the topic of discussion between Asia Centre and Dr. Wang Jianwei, Director of the Institute of Global and Public Affairs, University of Macau. China’s One Belt, One Road initiative was announced in 2013 by President Xi Jinping. It seeks to increase the connectivity between China and Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Europe. Major support mechanisms for this important initiative are China’s policy banks (China Development Bank and Exim Bank) that support a ‘going-out’ strategy, state-backed investment funds (including…

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Nite for Rights: A Human Rights Open Mic Platform

Asia Centre’s first human rights open mic night was held on the 30 June 2017 with an audience of about 35 from various backgrounds including academics, students, civil society representatives and media representatives. Nite for Rights was a celebration of human rights advocacy and activism in the region, with Asia Centre providing a platform for sharing and discussion into the critical human rights issues impacting the region as well as strategies for effective engagement.   The event was opened with an overview of Asia Centre’s Human Rights Programme and sharing of key findings of our research into the Universal Periodic…

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Asia Centre’s Second Anniversary

After two years of operations, Asia Centre cast a confident gaze at its steady growth, program development, outreach and presence in Bangkok. As a testament to the Centre’s community-building prowess the celebrations featured friends and associates from academia, local and international civil society organizations, international institutions, embassies, students and the media. Asia Centre provided a platform for sharing in the form of an open mic night dedicated to human rights in the region.     Over the past year, the Centre focused on developing its role as a think tank and on its flagship Human Rights Programme, which carries out…

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Asia Centre Leads Discussion on Human Rights and Conflict Prevention at ICIRD 2017

Applying human rights principles in the development of early warning systems and indicators can bolster internal - conflict prevention processes and mechanisms. This was the key discussion point at the Asia Centre-Thammasat University panel on  internal conflict held at the  International Conference on International Relations and Development (ICIRD) on 24 June 2017. The panel entitled, Human Rights Violations and Internal-Conflict in Southeast Asia: Identifying Conflict Prevention Processes and Mechanisms, looked at the challenges and opportunities for internal conflict prevention from conceptual and practical perspectives.   Asia Centre’s Executive Director Dr Robin Ramcharan’s paper Human Rights and Conflict Prevention in Southeast…

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Violations by Businesses Against Human Rights Defenders An Emerging Trend

In addition to States, increasingly the office of the UN Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights defenders (HRDs) is using its mandate to hold businesses accountable for human rights violations. States no longer are the only violators, around the world violations against HRDs are also being committed by companies in the areas of mining and forestry as well as other sectors.   This was one of the key trends affecting the situation of human rights defenders Mr. Michel Forst highlighted during his public lecture at the Asia Centre. Over 70 people turned up to hear Mr. Michel Forst…

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