Three friends are relaxing in a quiet courtyard. They speak English with a strong American accent and talk about their disadvantaged neighborhoods. Their tattoos depict a rough life on the street. One of them calls Massachusetts home, while the others grew up in Georgia.
It’s not just suspected drug users and dealers at risk of targeted killing in the Philippines. The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) reported last week that the Philippines is the most dangerous country in Southeast Asia for journalists. Globally, the island nation came sixth on the list of most murderous countries.
The water is nibbling away the beaches of Fiji. Not even the dead are allowed peace of mind. The graveyard of Togoru - a village on the largest island of Fiji - has been submerged. The waves are sloshing softly against the tilted tombstones covered with barnacles. The names have become illegible, erased by the sea.
"Today’s youth should think of new solutions for old problems like climate change and social injustice."That's the strong message of the South African activist Kumi Naidoo. The former executive director of Greenpeace says young people need to be more innovative and visionary, "because the solutions of my generation have failed."
They are young, smart and willing to take the rough road. Victor, Jubilanté and Khaled are independent fighters who speak out with a force that could possibly change the appearances of their countries, and beyond.
More than 700 activists gathered in Suva, Fiji's capital, to explore the latest trends – from climate change to human rights, from innovation to social justice. Anything that can help empower and mobilise citizens. The lively debates in panel discussions, workshops and lectures made the event look like a carnival of creative new ideas and tested knowledge.
Continuing his “America First” approach, President Donald Trump has pulled the U.S. out of a proposed United Nations global compact seeking an agreement to protect the safety and rights of migrants and refugees.
It's a busy week for movers, shakers and policymakers attending a global gathering of civil society activists here in Fiji. For the first time, the International Civil Society Week (ICSW) is holding its sessions in the Pacific. It's a sign of a growing awareness of the problems facing these remote islands – problems they cannot be ignored any longer.
The government had an almost paranoid fear of protests. A square kilometer around the Supreme Court was barricaded and off limits to the public. In faraway provinces, roadblocks were erected to stop demonstrators. Some opposition members were under temporary house arrest. But it turned out to be unnecessary. Nobody dared to protest.
In Laos, the lush forests are alive with the whines of drills that pierce the air. On the Mekong, a giant concrete wall rises slowly above the trees. The Don Sahong dam is a strong symbol, not only for a power-hungry Asia but also for what critics fear is a disaster in the making.
I try to hold on tight as my driver navigates his motorbike over a bumpy and muddy track. His helmet is decorated with a swastika and an eagle, part of an ill-inspired fashion trend called Nazi chic. It's symbolic for a country where hate and racism seen to have become normalized.
In a quiet street, the sound of children's voices can be heard from an open window. They are reciting verses of the Koran in unison. The small Islamic school lays hidden in a walled neighborhood where only Muslims live. This is an island of tranquility in Mandalay, the second-largest city of predominantly Buddhist Myanmar.