Democracy and Participation

Democracy and civic freedoms have come under increasing pressure in Southeast Asia over the past years. Under the pretense of ensuring stability, national security and public order, regional governments continue to severely curtail fundamental political, as well as economic, social and cultural rights of its citizens.  Unregulated investments, facilitated by rent-seeking governments, in particular in the poorer ASEAN-countries, increasingly disenfranchise and deprive local communities of their livelihoods at a large scale.  

In dealing with these trends, the Democracy & Participation Program strongly commits to the promotion of human rights, democratic participation and gender equality. Among others, we support civil society organizations that engage in the protection of freedom of expression, media freedom and digital rights, a particularly important issue in times of increased digital censorship and surveillance by state authorities across the region. As the ongoing ASEAN integration will be essentially defined by the movement of people across borders, the program will also engage in activities related to the rights of refugees and migrants. Overall, the aim of the Democracy & Participation Program is to assist partners and civil society organizations in creating public space for dialogue and open debates as well as developing adequate strategies for their respective advocacy campaigns. This encompasses (I)NGOs, alternative media, think tanks, scholars, youth activists, artists, LGBT and women’s organizations.

The 2019 Philippine Elections: Consolidating Power in an Eroding Democracy

Jokowi’s Triumph in the 2019 Presidential Election and the Future of Binary Politics

On Freedom of Expression and Civil Liberties in Singapore

Human Rights Against Populism: A Progressive Response to the Politics of Duterte and Mahathir

All articles on Democracy & Participation

Publications Democracy & Participation

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Afraid of the Light: Unmasking the Discourse on Irregular Migration and Its Implications for Migration Governance in ASEAN

This paper attempts to investigate the issue of irregular migration in the ASEAN region. The space and attention given to a burgeoning reality of irregular migration is yet to be given its due space at national policy-level and regional discussions. The primary objective of the paper is to function as a baseline study for future advocacy on protection of the rights of undocumented migrants in the region. Primarily, it focuses on the governance of migration, or the lack thereof, by contextualising the current status of irregular migrants in major destination countries of the ASEAN region, being Malaysia, Thailand and Singapore.

For Democracy

In the last six decades all over the world autocracies and military dictatorships were overthrown and initial steps toward democracy were taken. But over the years it has be-come clear that the transition from autocracy to democratic rule is difficult and by no means guaranteed. The authoritarian developing state – as an alternative to democracy – has gained massive momentum. Even in its ostensible strongholds democracy is un-der pressure today in many parts of the world. Institutions of democracy assistance like the Heinrich Böll Foundation and pioneers of political freedom have been struggling against a significant headwind for some time now. However, supporting democratic en-gagement worldwide is a core concern of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Human rights, democracy, and ecology – this triad stands at the center of the Foundation’s interna-tional work. The present publication “For Democracy” outlines and analyzes the state of democracy worldwide as well as the possibilities of democracy assistance. At the same time, the publication provides concrete insights into the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s political work for democracy. In addition, four essays approach the subject democracy assistance in a basic and passionate manner.

Computercrime? Impact of the Computer-related Crime Act 2007 and State Policies on the Right to Freedom of Expression

The new publication by Sawatree Suksri, Siriphon Kusonsinwut and Orapin Yingyongpathana from iLaw aims to explore implications of the enforcement of the Computer Crime Act (CCA) since it came into force in July 2007 until December 2011 vis-a-vis sate policies as well as public reaction towards he law and its enforcement in comparison to the situation abroad. It includes key findings and recommendations.

All publications

The Future of Civic Space: What are the Realities of “Shrinking Space”

Squeezed Spaces

Dossier: Squeezed – Space for Civil Society