Asia-Pacific

Towards a Global Role for ACP?

The African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) met this week in Brussels for the 105th Session of its Council of Ministers to discuss the key question of how these 79 countries could play a more effective role for their own citizens and in the international arena.

Mob Killing Sparks Fresh Outrage Over Pakistan’s Blasphemy Laws

Aimal Khan, 27, an airman in Pakistan's Air Force, warns the country will end up in the throes of mayhem if the state does not do something about the abuse of the blasphemy laws. "People will use it to settle personal scores," he said.

Flying Green in Bangladesh

New technology could be the answer to reducing negative climate impacts of aviation - one of the fastest-growing sources of greenhouse gases. And a recent quantitative research at North South University (NSU) of Bangladesh has found that upgrading the existing navigation system will reduce fuel use, hence decreasing carbon emissions as well as costs.

Journalist Killings in Sri Lanka Predicated on a Deadly Irony

The widespread belief in the politically-motivated killings of journalists in Sri Lanka is predicated on a deadly irony: the hidden hand has always been visible, but the fingerprints have gone missing.

Trolling of Women Journalists Threatens Free Press

“It’s not what you say that prompts it—it’s the fact that you are saying it,” says Mary Beard, a Cambridge University classics professor about online trolling. “If you venture into traditional male territory, the abuse comes anyway. It is the many ways that men have silenced outspoken women since the days of the ancients.”

Long Way to Go for Indigenous Rights Protection

Despite progress, many gaps remain in international indigenous rights protection, said representatives during an annual UN meeting.

Indigenous Peoples – Best Allies or Worst Enemies?

It all happened on the very same day—4 April. That day, indigenous peoples were simultaneously characterised as fundamental allies in the world’s war on hunger and poverty, while being declared as collective victims of a “tsunami” of imprisonments in Australia. See what happened.

Women Clearing Bombs in Cambodia

Mao Neav takes a few quick steps out into the field, followed by her faithful dog Onada, tail wagging, tongue out and panting, ready for what is out there. The field is peppered with cluster bombs.

Reclaiming the Bandung Spirit for Shared Prosperity

"The despised, the insulted, the hurt, the dispossessed—in short, the underdogs of the human race were meeting. ... Who had thought of organizing such a meeting? And what had these nations in common? Nothing, it seemed to me, but what their past relationship to the Western world had made them feel. This meeting of the rejected was in itself a kind of judgment upon the Western world!."—Richard Wright, The Color Curtain [University Press of Mississippi, 1956].

Tensions in Cambodia Are Growing

Tensions in Cambodia are growing. The reigning party have been in power for decades, but as the upcoming elections in June come closer, support is gathering for the opposition. The response from the government has been to pass laws that seek to silence protests.

Mind the Treatment Gap

Implementation of the Mental Healthcare Act will require a restructuring of health-care services The Mental Healthcare Bill, 2016, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on March 27, 2017, has been hailed as a momentous reform. According to the Bill, every person will have the right to access mental health care operated or funded by the government; good quality and affordable health care; equality of treatment and protection from inhuman practices; access to legal services; and right to complain against coercion and cruelty. The Bill also empowers a mentally ill person to choose a treatment and her/his nominated representative, decriminalises attempted suicide, prohibits the use of electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) to mentally ill adults without the use of muscle relaxants and anaesthesia, and contains provisions for care, treatment and rehabilitation for those who have experienced severe stress and attempted suicide. While these are laudable and ambitious objectives as they address major concerns of mental health care, there have been some critiques drawing attention to the lack of funds, trained personnel, and insufficient emphasis on community care. The ground reality, however, suggests that these objectives are not just overambitious but an overkill.

ACP: One Billion People to Speak To Europe with One Voice

Seventy-nine countries from Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific, which are home to around one billon people, will speak with one voice as they prepare to negotiate a major partnership agreement with the European Union (500 million inhabitants) in May.

Women’s Health Policies Should Focus on NCDs

Science and medicine were not subjects of dinnertime conversations in the Norton household in Christchurch, New Zealand, but Professor Robyn Norton grew up observing her parents’ commitment to equity and social justice in improving people’s lives. It left an indelible impression on her young mind.

Positive Signs as Asia-pacific Moves Towards Global Development Goals

With just over a year since the adoption of a historic blueprint to end poverty and protect the planet, positive signs have already started to emerge among countries in the Asia-Pacific region as they push ahead with the implementation of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Indonesian Farmers Weather Climate Change with Conservation Agriculture

Fifty-two-year-old farmer Theresia Loda was effusive when asked how conservation agriculture has changed her economic situation.

Sri Lanka’s Small Tea Farmers Turn Sustainable Land Managers

As the mercury rises higher, Kamakandalagi Leelavathi delves deeper into the lush green mass of the tea bushes. The past few afternoons there have been thunderstorms. So the 55-year-old tea picker in Uda Houpe tea garden of Sri Lanka’s Hatton region is rushing to complete her day’s task before the rain comes: harvesting 22 kgs of tea leaves.

UN to Investigate Violations Against Rohingya

A top UN human rights group has decided to investigate human rights abuses against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

Free Education Helps Combat Child Labour in Fiji

In the South Pacific nation of Fiji, free and compulsory education, introduced three years ago, in association with better awareness and child protection measures, is helping to reduce children’s vulnerability to harmful and hazardous forms of work.

Menstrual Hygiene Project Keeps Girls in School

Breaking taboos surrounding menstruation, a project to distribute sanitary napkins to girls in one district of Bangladesh has had a positive impact on school dropout rates – and should be replicated in other parts of the country, experts say.

Sanitation ‘Revolution’: A New Pay-Monthly Poop Removal System

Developing countries struggling to cope with huge volumes of human waste may finally get some relief, and a new business opportunity.

Asia’s Water Politics Near the Boiling Point

In Asia, it likely will not be straightforward water wars.

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