Asia-Pacific

Adding Life to Years – Demographic Change in Asia and the Pacific

World Population Day on 11 July provides an excellent opportunity to take stock and look ahead regarding population issues that are affecting all aspects of society in Asia and the Pacific.

AFGHANISTAN: ‘The Doha Meeting Has Raised Concerns the UN Is Indirectly Legitimising the Taliban’


 
CIVICUS discusses the exclusion of women from international talks on Afghanistan currently being held in Qatar with Sima Samar, former chairperson of the Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). The AIHRC is the Afghan national institution devoted to the promotion, protection and monitoring of human rights. Its status is now a matter of contention: on returning to power, the Taliban decreed its dissolution, but the AIHRC refuses to abide by the decision due to the illegitimate nature of the Taliban regime.

Forced Deportations Leave Afghan Women in Dire Poverty

Sarai e Shamali camp in Kabul is a temporary refugee shelter. The camp receives on average 100 Afghans a day, forcibly returned from Pakistan and Iran where most had sought asylum when the Taliban took over power in Afghanistan three years ago.

While Global Population is Rising, East Asia is Shrinking

Across East Asia, birthrates are plummeting. Japan’s has been falling for eight straight years and recently hit a record low of 1.2 children per woman, the lowest since record keeping began in 1899.

The Ocean People: Navigating Cyclones, Floods, and Climate Injustice in India

Cyclones and floods have become increasingly frequent across different parts of India, posing a significant threat to the country's population.

Women Take the Lead in Baloch Civil Resistance

A 30-year-old woman speaks before tens of thousands gathered in southern Pakistan. Men of all ages listen to her speech in almost reverential silence, many holding up her portrait and chanting her name: Mahrang Baloch.

As Heat Soars in India, so Does Domestic Violence

As the temperature soars to new heights in India, so does domestic violence. It’s a well-established correlation that is largely left out of the climate change discussion, but the gap is glaring and needs to be bridged.

Myanmar: International Action Urgently Needed

Myanmar’s army, at war with pro-democracy forces and ethnic militias, must know it’s nowhere near victory. It recently came close to losing control of Myawaddy, one of the country’s biggest cities, at a key location on the border with Thailand. Many areas are outside its control.

Mayurbhanj Kai Chutney: From Forests to Global Food Tables

On a scorching May morning, Gajendra Madhei, a farmer from Mamudiya village, arrives at the local bazaar in Udula, a town in Odisha's Mayurbhanj district. He displays freshly caught red weaver ants, known locally as kai pimpudi, in the bustling tribal market. Thanks to the recent recognition of Mayurbhanj's Kai chutney, or red weaver ant chutney, with a Geographical Indication (GI) tag awarded in January, his business of selling the raw ants has seen a significant surge in profitability.

Cambodia at a Tipping Point: Authenticity Makes Way for Progress

Modernity is arriving rapidly in Cambodia, observes journalist Kris Janssens (48), who has lived and worked in the country since 2016. The predominantly young population is eager to move forward, embracing technology over traditional agriculture or fishing. Can Cambodians unite their country's authentic soul with their aspirations for progress?

Kashmir Frontier Woman Leads the Way in Breaking Down Patriarchy

Smelling the toxic smoke coming from burned powder kegs and helplessly watching fields turn into smoke and ash is traumatic. Rushing to the government's safe houses and leaving your homes, belongings and cattle behind whenever the armies of India and Pakistan trade fire is inexplicable. Then came climate-change-induced weather unpredictability. 

Thailand’s LGBTQI+ Rights Breakthrough

At the height of 2024 Pride season, decades of civil society campaigning came to fruition in Thailand. With 130 votes for and only four against, on 18 June the Senate passed the Marriage Equality Bill. With a few strokes of the pen, the bill tweaked the language of the Civil and Commercial Code, replacing gendered references such as ‘man’ and ‘woman’ with gender-neutral ones such as ‘persons’ and ‘spouses’. It now goes for formal assent to King Maha Vajiralongkorn and will take effect 120 days after publication in the official bulletin.

Women Warriors Winning Fight to Bring Back Indigenous Food Traditions

As the school lunch bell goes off, 40 eager little bodies—41 if you count the school dog—burst out onto the veranda. Awaiting them are a stack of steel platters, into which will be ladled a nutritious and delicious lunch, all of it indigenous cuisine.

New Caledonia: Time to Talk about Decolonisation

The violence that rocked New Caledonia last month has subsided. French President Emmanuel Macron has recently announced the suspension of changes to voting rights in the Pacific island nation, annexed by his country in 1853. His attempt to introduce these changes sparked weeks of violence.

Conflict Deprives Children of Education in Northern Syrian IDP Camps

Twelve-year-old Walid Al-Hussein, displaced from the city of Kafranbel to a camp for internally displaced people (IDP) in northern Idlib on the border with Turkey, has given up his dream of becoming a lawyer. "The distance of schools from our home (in the camp) made me leave education and give up my dream and my mother's dream of becoming a lawyer who defends the rights of the oppressed," Al-Hussein told IPS.

Sawantwadi’s Traditional Handmade Toys Struggle for Survival

Sawantwadi in Maharashtra, on the western coast of India, bordering Goa, has always been known for its wooden toys. A picturesque town amid hills and lush greenery, Sawantwadi retains an old-world charm to this day.  The regal Sawantwadi Palace holds pride of place, with colleges, schools, and temples cloistered around the periphery of the lake, which was once an extension of the royal grounds.  In the centre of the town is the Ubha Bazaar, or Hanging Market, which houses rows of shops selling the iconic wooden toys that are a hallmark of Sawantwadi.

Bangladesh Can Boost Growth & Climate Resilience by Investing in Women

Bangladesh has made major gains for its population, the world’s eighth largest with more than 170 million people. Per capita incomes, one of the best measures of broad economic well-being, have risen seven-fold in the past three decades while poverty has been reduced to a fraction of former levels.

1,000 Days—Afghan Girls’ Voices Campaign Enters Second Phase

The global community is marking a tragic milestone for human rights, children's rights, and girls' rights, as it has been 1,000 days since girls were banned from attending secondary school in Afghanistan. The ban has wiped out decades’ worth of education and development gains, as approximately 80 percent of school-aged Afghan girls and young women are out of school.

Indignity, Disease, Death—The Life of a Sewer Worker in Pakistan

A dark head emerges, followed by the torso. The balding man heaves himself up, hands on the sides of the manhole, as he is helped by two men. Gasping for breath, the man, who seems to be in his late 40s, sits on the edge, wearing just a pair of dark pants, the same color as the putrid swirling water he comes out from.

Lawmakers Deliberate on ICPD30, Water Security at Tajikistan Conference

It's been 30 years since the International Conference on Population and Development Programme of Action (ICPD30) was adopted in Cairo, transforming policy and thinking on population and development issues.

Climate Change, Pollution Push Karnaphuli Fishers Out of the Profession

Jishuram Das, a sexagenarian who was born in Jelepara, located in Chattogram, has been catching fish from the Karnaphuli River since his childhood. But nowadays, he often sits idle without going to catch fish, as their catches have drastically fallen.

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