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.


China, As Told by China: Beijing’s Influences Reach Thai Media and Beyond

ASEAN 2020

Toward a “Cohesive and Responsive” Region: Vietnam’s Priorities and Challenges for Its ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020

Student Protest in Jakarta

More than Sex: Indonesian Students as Last Line of Defense for Justice

“The civil union bill misses the target” says Thailand’s first transgender MP

All articles on Democracy & Participation

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

Squeezed Spaces

Dossier: Squeezed – Space for Civil Society