Archive for February, 2012

In The News

Mongolia Marks Passage of Landmark Anti-Trafficking and Corruption Legislation

February 15, 2012

As Mongolians prepare for next week’s Mongolian Lunar New Year festivities, government and non-governmental organizations are celebrating the passage of two long-awaited pieces of legislation that the Parliament of Mongolia passed in January. The passage of a standalone Law on Combating Trafficking in Persons marks a milestone in Mongolia’s anti-trafficking efforts, and signifies the culmination of more than three years of intense advocacy.

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Notes from the Field

Have Philippine Presidents Overcome the Governance Impact of the ‘Hollywood Years?’

February 15, 2012

The Philippines has many cultural similarities to the rest of Southeast Asia. Some similarities, take cockfighting for example, puzzle some Filipinos and give great pride to other Filipinos (particularly males). Cockfighting is pre-colonial (as the chronicler of Magellan’s voyage when it arrived in the Philippines, Antonio Pigafetta observed) and is shared with Southeast Asia…

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In The News

New Study Reveals Worrying Trends in Underage Marriage in Indonesia

February 15, 2012

Aisyiyah, the women’s wing of Muhammadiyah, recently released results of a study it did on adolescent sexuality in Yogyakarta’s Bantul district. Pointing to the widespread practice of girls marrying in their teens and even below the legal age of 16, the study makes for a worrying read.

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Notes from the Field

Powering India’s Next Generation of Social Entrepreneurs

February 15, 2012

Nearing its 65th year of independence, India, the largest democracy and second-most populous country in the world, is undergoing another transformation: a second freedom struggle. Birthed from decades of frustration over rampant corruption, a large-scale movement led by activist Anna Hazare has energized the country’s youth…

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Featured

Let’s Talk Rights – Thailand talk show earns award

February 15, 2012

The Thai National Human Rights Commission awarded The Asia Foundation for its landmark public affairs television talk show, Let’s Talk Rights. The highly acclaimed show which began airing in 2009 brings together often strongly opposed policymakers, politicians, top government officials, academics, activists, and marginalized individuals to participate in very civilized debates on hot-button human rights […]

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In The News

What Greater Trade Liberalization in South Asia Would Mean for Consumers

February 8, 2012

Global economic recovery in 2012 remains tenuous, with the World Bank recently downgrading its forecast for this year’s global growth from 3.6 percent to 2.5 percent. This slide in expectations and persistently high unemployment rates in many countries has sparked a resurgence of protectionist tendencies toward trade. These tendencies are couched in the language of “bringing jobs back,” while tariffs are euphemistically coined as “flexibility” needed to protect domestic producers. South Asia has suffered for decades from a low level of intraregional cooperation, both politically and economically.

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Notes from the Field

Human Trafficking Rampant in Thailand’s Deep-Sea Fishing Industry

February 8, 2012

While a lucrative deep-sea fishing industry places Thailand among the world’s leading exporters of sea products, a grim specter of human rights abuse lurks below the surface of an industry whose contribution to the national economy is estimated to exceed $4 billion a year. A combination of factors – including a shortage of labor in this dangerous…

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Notes from the Field

The Philippines in the Context of Southeast Asia’s History

February 8, 2012

One of the interesting things about team-teaching a course on “The Domestic Politics of Southeast Asia: The Philippines and Thailand” is that I myself have never taken a course on Southeast Asia. I was an American politics specialist as a graduate student, with a dissertation on “Interpretation and American Electoral Studies.” On the Philippines in particular…

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In The News

U.S. Military and the Philippines: What do Philippine Citizens Really Think?

February 1, 2012

No sooner did I warn in last week’s blog on my way to Washington, D.C., that there is “a danger that U.S.-Philippine relations will be viewed entirely through the lens of ‘the rise of China’” than I was greeted upon arrival by the morning front-page story in The Washington Post entitled, “Philippines may allow greater U.S. military presence in reaction to China’s rise.” The article stated that “the sudden rush by many in the Asia-Pacific region to embrace Washington is a direct reaction to China’s rise as a military power and its assertiveness in staking claims to disputed territories, such as the energy-rich South China Sea.”

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In The News

Frustrated, Indonesians Demand Changes in Juvenile Justice System

February 1, 2012

After a series of reports emerged across the archipelago in recent weeks of children being arrested and prosecuted for petty crimes, Indonesians are raising questions about the state of juvenile justice in the country. The first was a confounding case that resonated around the globe: a 15-year-old boy from Central Sulawesi was incarcerated and tried last month…

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