June 25, 2009 — Pakistan: Supporting Human Rights
With funding from the Royal Netherlands Embassy, The Asia Foundation began a new initiative in Pakistan called the Human Rights Fund. The project is designed to engage Pakistani civil society groups, the government, and media agencies to work to improve protection and promotion of human rights in Pakistan.
The Fund focuses on five areas: freedom from torture and other rights related to prisoners; freedom of speech and access to information; stemming gender-based violence and discrimination; rights of religious and ethnic minorities; and economic rights. Through the Fund, the Foundation is making small grants to civil society organizations or civil society-government partnerships to address human rights issues. In December, the Foundation issued a solicitation for proposals and received more than 280 responses from throughout the country.
New Annual Report Available
From the cover shot of Bat-Erdene, a herder’s son from Eastern Mongolia who benefited from our Books for Asia program, to the compelling stories told in each country and program write-up, The Asia Foundation’s Fiscal Year 2008 Annual Report gives a glimpse of our work through the eyes of some of the top Getty photographers. The report is viewable on the Foundation’s website.
The Asia Foundation is now on Facebook. To become a fan of The Asia Foundation, simply log in to your Facebook account, type “The Asia Foundation” into the search feature, and click “Become a Fan.” If you’re not a member of Facebook, visit Facebook for more information on membership.
Delegation Studies India Elections
The Asia Foundation recently organized a seven-member delegation made up of
representatives of the Election Commissions of Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines to study the process of the 15th Lok Sabha elections in India. The Asia Foundation’s India Programs Director and former Ambassador Rajendra M. Abhyankar accompanied the group, which observed polling at some of the country’s 800,000 polling stations, many of which used electronic voting machines for the first time.
According to Abhyankar, “the General Elections were impeccably conducted, free of violence (barring sporadic incidents), and were transparent, free, and fair. The election [had] innovative features worthy of universal replication: photo electoral rolls to avoid impersonation or duplication; mapping in all constituencies to identify areas vulnerable to threat and intimidation; and the strict observance of the Model Code of Conduct for all political parties.”