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Access to Justice


The Asia Foundation Supports Legal Aid in Laos

August 24, 2020

News Post

On August 14, 2020, The Asia Foundation provided a grant to the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) in Laos to further implement the Memorandum of Understanding on Access to Justice and Legal Aid Support for January 2020 to May 2023. The ministry plans to open legal aid offices in all provinces and districts of Laos, and the Foundation will provide support t… Read more

Pakistan law firm 

Alternative Dispute Resolution Gains Traction in Pakistan

December 18, 2019

Blog Post

Pakistan’s courts are overloaded. Civil litigation can often span decades, sometimes outliving the litigants. But with new legislation and support from The Asia Foundation, alternative dispute resolution is quickly becoming an accepted alternative that can speed the delivery of justice.


Water, Gender, and Poverty in Cambodia’s Stung Chinit Watershed

December 4, 2019

Blog Post

Cambodia’s Stung Chinit Watershed is one of the world’s most productive ecosystems, but it is also among Cambodia’s poorest regions, where inequalities of gender and poverty can make water for drinking and agriculture scarce or unavailable.


On the Anniversary of Independence, How Secure Is Timor-Leste?

September 25, 2019

Blog Post

Last month, Dili played host to visiting government officials from more than 20 countries, including Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia, to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of Timor-Leste’s vote for independence on August 30, 1999. As the excitement and gravitas of the nationwide festivities taper off, and the dry-season dust resettles o… Read more


A Long Road: Access to Justice in Laos

June 19, 2019

Blog Post

When her father died suddenly last year, the family of Mrs. Somleuthai (her name has been changed for privacy) started to break apart. Her father, a small farmer, had left an inheritance, 2.5 hectares of land in the rural district of Xayabouly. Her mother and each of her six siblings insisted that they had the rights to all of it. The fighting went… Read more


Tackling the Backlog in Pakistan’s Courts

August 29, 2018

Blog Post

In his old age, a longstanding property dispute became the bane of Abdul Hamid Khan’s existence. The father of four sons and three daughters in Punjab’s Rahimyar district, Khan had been left, like Shakespeare’s King Lear, without a roof over his head. It was a dispute over land inheritance. In 2010, Khan transferred all his property, some 16 acres,… Read more


Seven Questions to Consider When Promoting Gender Justice in Sri Lanka

June 6, 2018

Blog Post

In October 2016, The Asia Foundation’s Sri Lanka office began a project to make that country’s formal justice system more responsive to victims of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV). Seventeen months later, and after five decades of working with security and justice institutions and promoting women’s rights in Sri Lanka, here are our insights… Read more

Pakistan law firm 

Alternative Dispute Resolution: A Paradigm Shift in Pakistan’s Justice System?

July 26, 2017

Blog Post

According to the World Justice Project’s latest Rule of Law Index, Pakistan ranks near the bottom in its ability to ensure protection of fundamental rights and advancing civil and criminal justice. Beyond the impact that this has on citizens, the challenges facing Pakistan’s justice system also impede economic development and drive inequality. Now… Read more


Reforming Security in Timor-Leste: Can a Plural Justice System Work?

April 13, 2016

Blog Post

Three and a half years after the withdrawal of the UN peacekeeping mission from Timor-Leste, The Asia Foundation’s new survey on community police perceptions finds that Timorese people are optimistic about the security situation in their country, feelings of insecurity are at their lowest levels in a decade, and there is greater trust in the police… Read more


Where Are India’s Working Women?

March 9, 2016

Blog Post

India is one of the youngest countries in the world, with a significant segment of its 1.2 billion population in the age group of 20-35. By 2020, it is estimated that the average age in the country will be 29. For an economy that is growing at an annual rate of 7 percent…


Responding to Conflict in Asia: Why Good Data is Needed

December 16, 2015

Blog Post

The new set of post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals includes for the first time a target that specifically sets out to promote peaceful and inclusive societies, marking an increase in awareness that peace and security is critical for sustainable development.


Social Media Ignites Disability Movement in Indonesia

December 9, 2015

Blog Post

In Indonesia, stigma around people with disabilities often comes from those closest to them. In many cases, families hide away their disabled family members, communities shun them, and government services and policies…


Can Transitional Justice Bring Peace to Thailand’s Deep South?

February 25, 2015

Blog Post

The conflict in Thailand’s Deep South, which has killed almost 7,000 people since 2004, is currently Southeast Asia’s most deadly. So what role might transitional justice play in nudging the South toward peace? Transitional justice (TJ) is a set of temporary mechanisms, such as prosecutions or tribunals…


Reversing the Legacy of Injustice in Thailand’s Conflict-Ravaged South

January 21, 2015

Blog Post

In the book, Voices of Hope: Stories of Women in Peace Process, Kamnung Chamnankij, whose husband and son had been charged in 2007 with the possession of chemicals associated with explosive devices and were subsequently arrested, recalled: “I had to sell my house, my only two cows, my husband’s fishing boat…


Editor’s Picks: 2014 Must Reads

December 23, 2014

Blog Post

Season’s Greetings! On behalf of In Asia’s editorial board and bloggers, we thank you for your engagement and continued readership throughout the year. We’ll be taking a short break, but will return on January 7. In the meantime, catch up on our must-read pieces and highlights on the most pressing events and issues in Asia throughout 2014.


Survey Reveals What Myanmar’s Citizens Think about Government, Reforms, and 2015 Elections

December 17, 2014

Blog Post

Myanmar’s recent transition to a quasi-civilian government in 2011 under President Thein Sein has brought about many social, economic, and political reforms, but 2014 has also seen rising concern both inside and outside of the country that the reform process has stalled…


Using Evidence to Improve Development Assistance

December 10, 2014

Blog Post

Development assistance is founded on countless theories about how foreign taxpayers’ money can be harnessed to instigate and catalyze economic and social development and provide humanitarian benefits abroad. Basic arguments for how positive change can be achieved…


Firing of Foreign Judges in Timor-Leste Threatens Justice System

October 29, 2014

Blog Post

In a dramatic challenge to the principles of democracy, on Friday night, the parliament of Timor-Leste decided in a closed session to fire all foreign judges and advisers in its justice system. The National Parliament passed Resolution No. 11/2014, calling on the government to audit the justice sector…


Indonesian Lawsuit Pushes Local Government to Regulate Massive Coal Mining Industry

October 15, 2014

Blog Post

In last week’s In Asia, I examined the growing environmental and social costs that the coal mining industry is having on Indonesia’s East Kalimantan province, home to 28 percent of Indonesia’s total coal reserves. Already, 6.6 million hectares have been allocated for mining across the province, and in the provincial capital…


Polling Shows Encouraging Climate of Opinion for Mindanao Peace Negotiations

October 8, 2014

Blog Post

On September 10, Philippine President Benigno Aquino personally turned over the draft Basic Law based on the Comprehensive Agreement on the Bangsamoro to Congress after months of revisions and refinement. The move continues the roadmap set forth in negotiations…


Khmer Rouge Sentence a Milestone, but Cambodia’s Justice System Remains Fragile

September 3, 2014

Blog Post

The Extraordinary Chambers in the Court of Cambodia last month sentenced two former senior Khmer Rouge leaders to life in prison for crimes against humanity. The Khmer Rouge’s 88-year-old chief ideologist and No. 2 leader, Nuon Chea, and its 83-year-old former head-of-state, Kheiu Samphan…


Minorities within the Minority: Indigenous Communities in the Bangsamoro

August 6, 2014

Blog Post

In March this year, a major milestone passed in the 40-year effort to end hostilities in the Philippines between the national government and Muslim separatist fronts. The government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed a Comprehensive…


Photo Blog: Myanmar Parliamentary Study Tour to Korea

May 14, 2014

Blog Post

The first session of the Myanmar’s Parliament was held in January 2011, but the legislative body has been extraordinarily busy catching up on a long list of laws that need to be updated, revised, or established anew to meet the country’s democratic transition…


Photo Blog: Legal Aid Delivers Justice in Indonesia

May 7, 2014

Blog Post

Millions of poor and marginalized Indonesians live without the full protection of the law. Securing access to justice for these citizens is a vital component of reducing poverty and vulnerability and delivering democratic governance.


Human Rights Protection in Modern Cambodia: Building on Unstable Grounds

April 23, 2014

Blog Post

On January 3, ongoing street protests by garment workers in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, turned violent. Government troops opened fire into a crowd of civilians, killing four and leaving one person missing. A total of 23 civilians were arrested and 21 are still detained without bail.


Access to Justice Constraints Fuel Conflict in Southern Thailand

April 23, 2014

Blog Post

Access to justice, security, and human rights protection rank among the core issues that fuel the protracted subnational conflict in southern Thailand and are central to the prospect of its future resolution. For the last decade, the southern border provinces of Yala, Narathiwat, and Pattani have faced a resurgence of an indigenous…


A New Face of Policing in Timor-Leste

April 23, 2014

Blog Post

On March 27, the national police of Timor-Leste (PNTL) celebrated their 14th anniversary with full pomp and circumstance. For 24 years until 1999, the police in Timor were under the command of the Indonesia military. Now, it seems that memories of countrywide conflict and instability in this small tropical nation are receding.


Philippines Mobilizes for a Disability-Inclusive 2016 Presidential Election

April 23, 2014

Blog Post

In his 4th State of the Nation Address in June 2013, Philippine President Aquino praised a 30-year-old Makati resident Nino Aguirre who has no legs, but had laboriously climbed four floors to reach his polling station and cast his vote in the May 2013 midterm elections. While Mr. Aguirre’s feat demonstrated laudable…


Photo Blog: Critical Issue – Access to Justice & Human Rights

April 23, 2014

Blog Post

Weak legal institutions and poorly functioning systems of justice pose challenges to citizens throughout Asia in resolving disputes, enforcing their rights, and accessing benefits to which they are legally entitled. This photo blog examines issues of access to justice and human rights through the lens of three countries


Prejudice at the Polling Booth: Disabled Indonesians Face Barriers in Voting

April 9, 2014

Blog Post

Millions of Indonesians voted in legislative elections on Wednesday, their ink-stained fingers marking another important moment in the consolidation of Indonesian democracy. Sixteen years after the fall of the Suharto regime, elections are largely considered free and fair…


Asia Foundation’s 18 Country Reps Convene in D.C. to Discuss Asia’s Critical Issues

March 12, 2014

Blog Post

This year, The Asia Foundation is commemorating its 60th anniversary. Drawing on the expertise of local partners and our own development experts in the 18 countries where we work, we’re initiating a year-long, global conversation on six critical issues facing Asia.


New Report Examines Impunity and Political Accountability in Nepal

March 12, 2014

Blog Post

Public disenchantment with Nepal’s political parties has been on the rise since the end of the decade-long conflict in 2006. Discussions about impunity have increased correspondingly, mirroring the growing frustration with the political process. A newspaper uncovers an instance of high-level corruption…


Women’s Experiences of Local Justice: Community Mediation in Sri Lanka

February 12, 2014

Blog Post

“Informal” justice is increasingly on the international development agenda (for example see here and here), based on the recognition that in many parts of the world, “formal” justice systems are far from the first port of call for citizens with a grievance or dispute.


On Patrol with Forensic Police in Thailand’s Deep South

January 29, 2014

Blog Post

While headlines focus on Bangkok as another round of ongoing political protests shut down the capital this week, a long-running, deadly conflict continues to simmer in Thailand’s southern border provinces of Yala, Pattani, and Narathiwat, and four neighboring districts…


The Critical Issues Affecting Asia

January 22, 2014

Blog Post

More than half of the planet lives in Asia. Six of the 10 largest nations in the world are in the Asia Pacific, and the region is playing an increasingly important role in the global economy, international security, and the world’s collective efforts to advance human development. The dynamism of Asian economies contributed greatly to the global economic recovery, simultaneously lifting more than half a billion people out of poverty. Glittering cities and bustling ports bear testament to the so-called “Asian miracle” that has become the dominant narrative in economic and political analysis of recent years.


In Thailand and Cambodia, a Culture of Impunity Still Holds

November 13, 2013

Blog Post

In November 1979, I attended a benefit concert in Bangkok given by Joan Baez to help raise funds for the humanitarian relief of Cambodian refugees who fled to the Thai border to escape the heinous rule of the Khmer Rouge. An estimated two million people were murdered by Pol Pot and his henchmen.


How an Electronic Database is Dramatically Reforming Indonesia’s Prisons

April 3, 2013

Blog Post

Kiki, a registrations clerk at Cipinang Prison in Jakarta, glanced at his pile of paperwork with a degree of resignation. It was April 2009, and he was responding to three summons letters from the prosecutor’s office and the Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) for 92 inmates to appear in court the next day.


Forensic Science Enhances Access to Justice and Human Rights Protection in Thailand

February 27, 2013

Blog Post

Among the array of international television series aired by cable networks in Thailand, “CSI,” “Bones,” and other dramas that highlight the work of forensic pathologists are especially popular. While Thai audiences are exposed to the dramatized investigative techniques applied by forensic specialists working in cooperation with law enforcement agencies…


The Filipino Child is Not Dispensable

December 5, 2012

Blog Post

This week, the Senate prepares to vote on House Bill No. 6052 which will lower the age of criminal liability in the nation from 15 to 12 years old. With the absence of a juvenile justice system, this means that children in conflict with the law…


Bringing Legal Aid to the Poor in Laos

September 28, 2011

Blog Post

During my recent visit to Laos, I couldn’t help but notice the abundance of newspaper headlines proclaiming the country’s economic success stories. Firm phrases such as “World Bank predicts Lao economic growth at 8.6 percent,” “Vietnam & Laos boost rubber cooperation,” and “New Laos airline preparing for takeoff,” stood out at stands…