Asia

 

Toppling modern-day Goliaths in the fight against climate polluters

By: Hasminah Dimaporo Paudac
Español

In climate litigation in the Philippines against 47 large corporations, a Greenpeace legal team showed that big polluters can be held morally and legally responsible ...

The right to employment security in post-COVID Indonesia

By: Dominique Virgil
Bahasa

Prioritizing the launch of Indonesia’s pre-employment card compromises the distribution of existing social assistance programs that could directly help those in ...

Are matters of national survival related to climate change really beyond a court’s power?

By: Sophie Marjanac & Sam Hunter Jones
Español

Courts can adjudicate the effectiveness of emissions reduction policies in protecting fundamental rights without encroaching on the powers of the political branches ...

The promises and challenges of climate change litigation in India

By: Arpitha Kodiveri
Español

As India surges forward with an aggressive development agenda, the judiciary’s involvement in climate change litigation is viewed by many as an obstacle to speedy ...

Normalizing the state of exception: Japan’s response to COVID-19

By: Saul Takahashi 
Español

COVID-19 may prove to be just the game changer that Japan’s prime minister needs to push through his agenda for revising the Constitution.

Returning to “normal” is impossible for India’s tea plantation workers

By: Shreya Sen
Español

Workers in India’s tea plantations have pre-existing health and environmental conditions that make them highly vulnerable to COVID-19, making a return to “normal” ...

Putting people at the heart of the human rights treaty body system

By: Ashley Bowe & Joshua Cooper
Français

Samoa held a ground-breaking treaty body session on child rights, evidencing the benefits of extending these sessions beyond Geneva.

Over-policing in India is not the answer to COVID-19

By: Urmila Pullat & Roohi Huma
Español | العربية

The recent behaviour of police in India begs the question: is a punitive approach to a public health crisis necessary and warranted?

Is China the future for hybrid CSO funding models?

By: Shawn Shih-hung Shieh
Español | 简体中文

As foreign funding dries up, Chinese CSOs have quickly adapted and reinvented themselves to mobilize local funding.

China, the coronavirus, and the liberal international order

By: Christopher W. Bishop
Español | 简体中文

China’s apparent success in tackling COVID-19 will bolster its authoritarian political system—and its restrictive approach to human rights.

How data is improving justice for gender-based violence in Fiji

By: Erin Thomas
Español | Na Vosa Vakaviti

To advance equity for girls and to improve faith in the justice system, combatting biases that privilege the interests of perpetrators of gender-based violence ...

Marching against India’s discriminatory Citizenship Amendment Act

By: Arpitha Kodiveri
Español

Demonstrators across India protested a new Act that prohibits certain religions from citizenship while fast-tracking others.

First UN human rights decision on climate migration—a modest step forward

By: Deborah Casalin
Español

For the first time, a UN body has decided the case of a climate migrant, and in doing so strengthened the duty on states to address climate change because it poses ...

Fighting for rights in the streets—not just the courts—of Hong Kong

By: Katrin Kinzelbach & Eva Pils
Español | 简体中文

The Hong Kong protest movement has long given up hope that Hong Kong’s rule of law can be protected with judicial means only.

Rethinking solutions to the Rohingya refugee crisis

By: Brian Gorlick
Français | العربية

The Rohingya refugees are unlikely to be able to return home anytime soon. We need to look at other options to allow them to rebuild their lives and communities.

“Our house is on fire”: the Asian climate emergency

By: Beatrice Tulagan
Español | Tagalog

Declaring a climate emergency is not enough, but women activists in Asia are pushing for these declarations to send policy signals across every level of government.

Despite supposed food assistance in India, people are starving to death

By: Pradeep Baisakh

Social systems in India are crumbling, leading to starvation deaths despite a plethora of food security programs. What is going wrong?

Employing the politics of solidarity against the rise of populism

By: Harsh Mander
Español | Français | العربية

With the world facing increasing division and hatred, the human rights community must face this lack of compassion with solidarity.

Using a business mindset to fund advocacy NGOs in Kyrgyzstan

By: Fatima Iakupbaeva
Español | Русский

Shifting to a business mindset is hard for non-profit organizations, but with limited opportunities for funding in Central Asia, it is a change worth making.

Genocide is an act of state, and demands a response by other states

By: John Packer
Français | Rohingya | العربية | Español | বাংলা | Türkçe

The Myanmar state can and must be held accountable for the genocide being perpetrated against the Rohingya, a point lost in largely illusory efforts to pursue international ...

What we can learn from feminists who fund themselves

By: Tenzin Dolker
Español | Français

Now more than ever, feminist organizations need to deepen the search for autonomous resourcing models that work for our movements, on our own terms.

India’s Supreme Court is making landmark judgements in social change

By: Jayna Kothari
Español

In the last few years, public interest litigation at India’s Supreme Court has brought significant wins for human rights—but success is best assured when litigation ...

Tech companies’ inability to control fake news exacerbates violent acts

By: Jennifer Easterday & Hana Ivanhoe

In the absence of sufficient monitoring and ameliorative action on the part of the tech companies, fake news in Sri Lanka is provoking non-violent, law-abiding ...

Citizen action pushes judicial recognition of gay rights in India

By: Suhrith Parthasarathy

The Indian Supreme Court’s landmark decision to declare unconstitutional a colonial-era law criminalizing same-sex relations shows majoritarian prejudices must ...

Using the UN to advance LGBT rights in China

By: Yanzi Peng
简体中文

China’s engagement in UN human rights reviews provides real opportunities to advance protection for LGBT rights, although advocates in China face many obstacles.

Malaysia’s punishment of lesbian couple highlights OIC rejection of LGBTQ rights

By: Robert C. Blitt
العربية

Malaysia’s recent caning of a homosexual couple reflects a larger problem with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) continued support for discriminatory ...

UN’s approach inside Myanmar abandons human rights principles

By: Liam Mahony

Although UN human rights bodies have criticized the persecution of the Rohingya, UN agencies inside Myanmar have been far too deferential to the authorities.

Climate Land Banks: addressing displacement in Myanmar and beyond

By: Scott Leckie
မြန်မာဘာသာ

Countries exposed to the worst impacts of climate change, like Myanmar, should consider establishing Climate Land Banks to meet the looming problem of massive climate ...

Collaborating across movements to fill funding gaps for women in Nepal

By: Pratima Gurung
Español

Groups in Nepal working at the intersections of different issues such as indigenous women with disabilities, are largely invisible to funders—but cross-movement ...

The activist balance: being both globally connected and locally rooted

By: Urantsooj Gombosuren & Marte Hellema
Español

In the volatility in Asia's human rights situations, can rights defenders and organizations stay globally connected while remaining rooted in grassroots efforts?

Protecting human rights defenders in Asia: using networks to fill the gaps

By: Lorenzo Urbinati & Sejin Kim
Español

Data on human rights violations in Asia proves the need to establish a network of protection mechanisms at the national, regional, and international level.

Religious rights advocacy won’t save the Rohingya—but what will?

By: Elizabeth Shakman Hurd
မြန်မာဘာသာ

To insist on the Rohingya status as a victimized religious minority while ignoring other factors cements their position as outsiders, fueling exclusionary forms ...

Climate change exacerbates gender inequality, putting women’s health at risk

By: Hwei Mian Lim
Español

Climate change takes a higher toll on women than on men. Women’s health and well-being, including their sexual and reproductive health and rights are all at stake.

Losing the battle for hearts and minds

By: Stephen Hopgood
Español

The battle for human rights—as seen in the treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar—may be losing ground as populist democracy becomes entrenched.

Indonesia at a threshold: reinventing the human rights movement

By: Julius Ibrani & Marte Hellema
Bahasa

Combined with growing fundamentalism and sectarianism, Indonesia once again is in dire need of a human rights movement for change.

Building communities to boost local fundraising

By: Sadhana Shrestha
Español | नेपाली | Français

Fundraising should never just be about money—it must also be about raising awareness of human rights and social justice.

‘If I lose my freedom’: preemptive resistance to forced confessions in China

By: Michael Caster
简体中文

Human rights defenders in China are increasingly using pre-recorded statements to control narratives to protect themselves against forced confessions.

To strengthen digital security for human rights defenders, behavior matters

By: Michael Caster
简体中文 | Español

When approaching digital security for human rights defenders in hostile environments, we need to think more about practical behavior.

Engage when we can, confront when we must

By: Navaz Kotwal

Indian human rights workers do not want to engage with the police, but to enact real change, both sides must work together.

Engagement versus endorsement: Western universities in China

By: Robert Edward Precht

The presence of Western universities in China is on the rise, but they are not following UN principles on corporate social responsibility.

Taking the battle for civic space online

By: Marte Hellema
Español

As online spaces become increasingly restricted, human rights activists must stay aware of the risks and benefits of technological developments.

To change torture practices, we must change the entire system

By: Kiran Grewal

Preventing torture goes beyond understanding individuals—it requires changing an entire system that allows for extreme violence.

Working with the enemy: the pros and cons of collaborating with perpetrators

By: Rachel Wahl
Español | हिन्दी

What is the best way for human rights activists to engage with perpetrators? There are ethical and strategic reasons to focus on accountability over understanding, ...

Modi and Trump - voting strongmen, voting hate

By: Zahir Janmohamed

Donald Trump’s win in the US and Narendra Modi’s in India two years ago are both about the majority claiming greater victimhood.

Could volunteer-based CSOs be a model for practicing human rights in China?

By: Hou Ping
Español | 简体中文

In China, new laws make fundraising even harder, but the LGBTQ community is getting creative.

State-owned enterprises in China could be an entry point for human rights

By: Qian Cheng
简体中文

To make headway on human rights in China, advocates need to get creative by partnering with state-owned enterprises.

ICC will investigate environmental destruction as well as war crimes

By: Richard J. Rogers 
Español

The ICC is now prioritizing crimes involving environmental destruction and land grabbing. How will this change economic development?

Dogs, pigs, and human rights: South Korea’s uproar

By: Jeong-Woo Koo 

A recent political uproar in South Korea has exacerbated the public’s diminishing trust in government officials.

In Asia, freedom of speech is critical in the fight for human rights

By: Henri Tiphagne & Marte Hellema

Protecting freedom of speech, assembly and association in Asia is the lynchpin to protecting all human rights.

Human rights and the state: embracing and abandoning religion(s)

By: Peter Jacob

The debate about whether a state should be religious or secular doesn’t always affect how a society treats religious minorities.

Self-interest argument for refugee admission backfires in Japan

By: Saul Takahashi 
日本語

Japan fails to protect refugees—but arguing it should do so because its aging society needs new immigrants hasn’t worked.

The Trans-Pacific Partnership: a missed opportunity for civil society?

By: Mark Aspinwall
Español

Civil society could have played a key role in the Trans-Pacific Partnership—why were they left out?

No middle ground: the risks of being a human rights defender in India

By: Mathew Jacob

Volunteers in India are banding together to form a network that protects human rights defenders.

Beyond reconciliation and accountability: distributive justice and Sri Lanka's transitional agenda

By: Vijay Nagaraj

If the transitional justice process in Sri Lanka ignores the indignities of poverty and everyday precariousness, can we really call it “justice”?

For Amnesty’s India office, raising local funds is all about membership

By: Aakar Patel
Español | العربية

Amnesty International’s India hub focuses most of its fundraising efforts on domestic contributions, facing challenges as diverse as the weather to brand recognition

Are we being innovative in protecting civic space?

By: Araddhya Mehtta
Español

Taking lessons from history’s best dissenters, civil society is finding new ways to make cracks in shrinking spaces.

Activists in an international system: pushing for change in Sri Lanka

By: Ruki Fernando

Local and international activists have been crucial in getting a UN response in Sri Lanka.

When international agendas trump the people’s demand for reform, no one wins

By: Ahilan Kadirgamar & Swasthika Arulingam 

As Sri Lanka moves on a new constitution and transitional justice process, it must prioritize local concerns of deepening economic inequalities over an international ...

Action on justice facilitates political solutions to conflict

By: Niran Anketell

Taking decisive steps towards accountability will be critical to reconciliation in Sri Lanka before frustrations rise again.

Cambodian trials offer important lessons

By: James A. Goldston

The trials in a special, internationally-backed Court in Cambodia of Khmer Rouge leaders offer important lessons to those pursuing accountability for crimes against ...

The politics of punishing war crimes in Sri Lanka

By: Ram Manikkalingam 

Prioritising the punishment of war criminals in Sri Lanka over other measures to achieve reconciliation risks re-empowering the extremists and undermining the government’s ...

Making the ASEAN Economic Community human rights-friendly

By: Haris Azhar
Bahasa

The ASEAN Economic Community should insert human rights rules into its implementation plan before integrating the vast Southeast Asian market.

Getting creative with local resource mobilization in Hong Kong

By: Linda To
Français

To get funding amidst intense non-profit competition in Hong Kong, human rights groups must get creative.

Mongolia’s economic crisis: an end to corporate social responsibility?

By: Bolor Legjeem

Despite an economic crisis, some Mongolian companies still respond to carefully constructed funding requests.

In Myanmar, polls are the beginning of a larger conversation

By: Kathy Frankovic 
မြန်မာဘာသာ

Many activists in Myanmar (Burma) are very skeptical of public opinion polling. But these polls are a key starting point for a larger conversation on democracy.

Crushing dissent: NGOs under threat in India

By: Seema Guha

Can NGOs and India’s political opposition stop Modi’s civil society clampdown?

Public opinion on human rights is the true gauge of progress

By: Jeong-Woo Koo 
Español | 한국어

External, “objective” measures of South Korea’s human rights progress will only take us so far. What we need now are the opinions of the people.

Religion and rights in Bangladesh: maintaining a delicate balance

By: Mubin S. Khan
বাংলা

Bangladeshi activists work around religious elements, sometimes even collaborating with them. The rise of religious groups, however, is becoming both a challenge ...

Beyond accountability: the struggle for co-existence in Sri Lanka

By: Ahilan Kadirgamar & Mahendran Thiruvarangan
தமிழ் | සිංහල

The promised report of a UN investigation into war crimes in Sri Lanka will achieve little unless accompanied by real introspection by both Tamil and Sinhala communities.

When internationalization causes more harm than good

By: Ram Mashru
Español | Français | العربية

Focusing on the practicalities of internationalization neglects a vital and thorny question: is going global really in the interests of all rights groups?

Government repression and bureaucratic hoops spell gloom for rights groups in Bangladesh

By: Mubin S. Khan
বাংলা

Amidst tighter donor budgets for human rights, NGOs in Bangladesh are also grappling with increasingly intrusive governments.

Small steps forward? International pressure and accountability for atrocities in Sri Lanka

By: Kate Cronin-Furman
Español | Français

In countries like Sri Lanka – not party to the ICC – international pressure plays an important role in keeping a focus on the issue of accountability for mass atrocities.

Do-It-Yourself-Aid: alternative funding sources for rights work?

By: Anne Meike Fetcher
Español

Is “Do-It-Yourself-Aid” the answer to funding rights work? Anne-Meike Fechter describes this model, its funding and related implications

Decentralizing can make global human rights groups stronger

By: Adriano Campolina
Español | Français

NGO internationalization is now trendy, but ActionAid realized long ago that giving up power doesn’t mean having less power.

Modi government cracks down on green NGOs

By: Prafu Bidwai

India’s new Modi government trains its guns on environmental activists.

Religious conversions in India – keeping human rights at the core

By: Siddharth Peter De Souza
हिन्दी

Religion is not only about belief but also about its capacity for human well-being. Therefore, human rights should be at the core of an individual’s right to evaluate ...

Religion as a political game: rising intolerance in Indonesia

By: Ahmad Sueady
Bahasa

Indonesia’s rising religious intolerance stems from a political pact struck between former president Bambang Yudhoyono and the country’s least tolerant Muslim groups. ...

To end manual scavenging in India, Hindu religious leaders must speak up

By: Seema Guha
हिन्दी

In India, Hindu religious leaders are reluctant to campaign loudly against the collection of raw sewage by oppressed communities, and this is slowing progress in ...

Indonesia’s growing religious intolerance

By: Phelim Kine
Bahasa

Although Indonesia has long been seen as a religiously moderate country, Sunni Muslim militants are attacking minority religious communities across the country. ...

The surprising impact of the Rome Statute in India

By: Usha Ramanathan
हिन्दी

Though India refuses to join the ICC, the Rome Statute has proved very useful in pushing for law reform that would put an end to decades of impunity for state complicity ...

Focusing on women and transgenders in LGBT rights

By: Nicola Desouza

Nepal is the most open country in South Asia for LGBT rights, but even here, patriarchal biases exclude women and transgenders. Can foreign funding change this?

Pure hypocrisy: India’s fear of foreign funding for NGOs

By: Medha Patkar

The Indian state aggressively promotes foreign investment in all sectors but civil society.

In India, a pervasive paranoia blocks progress on human rights

By: Lenin Raghuvanshi

NGOs working with untouchables and bonded labour face hostility from upper castes. For these groups, it’s nearly impossible to raise local funds. Without foreign ...

Starting at the top: why rights groups need to engage religious leaders

By: Parsa Venkateshwar Rao Jr 

For human rights to find resonance in the global South, we must connect them to the existing beliefs of the people by engaging religious leaders. Without this cultural ...

The politicization of Hindu faith in India

By: Fr. Cedric Prakash Sj
Español | Français | العربية

Hinduism preaches tolerance, the Indian Constitution enshrines plurality. So why has divisive political communalism become acceptable, even electable, when disguised ...

Human rights abuse in Burma and the role of Buddhist nationalism

By: Wai Yan Phone 
ภาษาไทย | မြန်မာဘာသာ

Myanmar is taking significant strides towards political and economic liberalization after decades of military dictatorship, yet a series of violent attacks against ...

The rights in Hinduism

By: Arvind Sharma 
Español | العربية

Contrary to popular perception, Hindu philosophies of moral agency, duty and universal truth cohabit with human rights values.

To raise funds, Indian rights groups must emulate the country’s newest political party

By: Ajaz Ashraf

Donations by ordinary citizens to India’s newest political party, the AAP, prove that Indians can and will donate to important causes. Indian rights groups can ...

What's a funder to do?

By: Rachel Wahl

If international funding compromises the work of domestic human rights groups, what should international donors do? It is admirable for local groups to refuse international ...

Funds and civil liberties

By: V. Suresh
हिन्दी

Dependence on institutional funding has depoliticized, monetized and corrupted much of the human rights work in India. While state-control of human rights funds ...

Building a domestic human rights constituency in India

By: Rita Jalali

To fight the chilling effect created by new laws on foreign funding, Indian human rights NGOs need to develop support for funding among citizens. Though difficult, ...

Going local

By: G. Ananthapadmanabhan

The Indian government uses the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act to block global support to NGOs that question the state. The FCRA must go, but meanwhile, civil ...

Now is the time to invest in China’s nascent rights groups

By: William Nee
简体中文

Even as China grows in wealth, it has yet to fully develop a culture of philanthropy – one that is free and clear of government influence and able to effect real ...

Time to challenge India for its stranglehold on funding for rights organizations

By: Ravi Nair
हिन्दी | العربية | Español

One of the country’s most informed human rights experts explains how India blocks foreign funding for rights work it doesn’t like. Philanthropists avoid supporting ...

 
 
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