Internet users in Southeast Asia are confronted with a heavily regulated environment in which there are more restrictions being placed on freedom of expression. Despite technological advances, societies undergoing political transitions, such as Indonesia, Myanmar, and Thailand, have yet to enjoy the full democratic potentials of a free and independent media. Instead of top-down reforms for the media, these countries need policies that prioritize the public’s interests. Only with the meaning public’s meaningful participation of civil society can these reforms become sustainable while supporting democratization.
Organic food production is still a niche market in ASEAN countries, yet one on the rise. Health and ecological concerns have brought sustainable farming methods including small-scale and organic farming back to the table. This article takes a look at new strategies of sustainable food production in ASEAN with perspectives from Thailand, Myanmar, and Singapore.
Since the adoption of China’s ‘going out’ strategy, Chinese enterprises have been strongly encouraged to engage overseas in a range of sectors, including agriculture. This has gathered a significant amount of interest in recent years, with a critical focus on large scale acquisitions by Chinese companies. Agriculture accounts for a small percentage of China’s overall outbound investment, and many of the large-scale land acquisitions reported in the media have not materialized.1 Nonetheless, Chinese companies of various sizes are now active in agriculture projects across the world, not only in production, but also processing, purchasing and trade. This report seeks to provide an overview of the current state of China’s overseas investment in agriculture in the Mekong region, with a focus on Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
Representatives of indigenous Karen communities in Myanmar this week filed a complaint with the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand alleging human rights violations resulting from the activities of Thai companies operating an open-pit coal mine. The Ban Chaung mine has polluted the air and water, harmed the livelihoods of local people, and led to the illegal seizure of agricultural land, among other harmful impacts, according to the complaint.
Political transition in Myanmar from a military to a civilian government holds the promise of opening up political spaces to previously marginalized groups. However, the dividend of the country’s democratization process seems to be still far off for the LGBTI community.
On 31 October 2016, the Institute of Security and International Studies (ISIS Thailand) organized the Public Forum titled “What’s AIIB All About? China, Asia and A Contested Global Order” in cooperation with Heinrich Böll Stiftung Southeast Asia (hbs) and Chulalongkorn University. The event hosted speakers from a variety of backgrounds to comment on the report “Making Inroads: Chinese Infrastructure Investment in ASEAN and Beyond”, authored by Mark Grimsditch of Inclusive Development International (IDI) with the support of hbs.
“One of the major challenges for Burma is the rushing economic wave as the country is seen as Asian last frontier for business. This creates another gold-rush manner where foreign businesses are rushing to come in to seize opportunities in particular on natural resources extraction,“ said Khin Ohmar, a Myanmar Human Rights Activist from Burma Partnership.