Asia-Pacific

Rights Group Calls for Overhaul of Criminal Justice Systems’ Response to Sexual Violence Across South Asia

Gaps in laws, illegal out-of-court settlements, rape survivor intimidation and law enforcement failure to adequately respond to sexual violence reports are hindering women from seeking justice and maintaining impunity for perpetrators of rape in South Asia.

Child Trafficking in South Asia Facilitated by Open Borders

The numbers are so staggering that is hardly imaginable striking a positive tone about the situation of child trafficking in Nepal and yet some positive developments are occurring here in a country that soon could be set to graduate from the group of least developing countries.

Challenges with Skill Development Programmes During the Pandemic

India’s evolving Technical and Vocational Education and Training ecosystem (TVET) faced many challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of the national lockdown, organisations had to remain shut for 7-8 months, until September 2020.

Trafficking Survivor & Son Born of Rape Face Daily Discrimination Upon Return to Nigeria

Sandra* had a baby born of rape. The young Nigeria woman had plans of a better life in Europe, but when her 'recruiters' abandoned her in Libya she was sexually assaulted and abused. 

People’s Leader: A Dalit Woman Becomes The Voice of Farmers In India

On 12 January this year, somewhere in the outskirts of the capital, New Delhi, 24 year old Dalit activist Nodeep Kaur was arrested by the Haryana police for protesting outside a factory. During the lockdown in 2020, Nodeep joined a local workers’ rights organization called Mazdoor Adhikar Sangathan (MAS) in the Kundli Industrial Area in Haryana. In January Nodeep was accused of allegedly manhandling management and staff of an industrial area during a protest and also assaulting the police team.

Rohingya Children Find Refuge in Education

Although learning centres in Cox’s Bazar Kutupalong Refugee Camp are closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Mariom Akhter, a Rohingya mother of four, is grateful not only for the schooling her children have had but the training sessions she as a parent was able to attend. The skills she learnt has helped her assist her children with their education at home in a crisis. It’s something she’s likely needed to help her children with over the last few weeks after a Mar. 22 fire spread through the camp, destroying the shelters of at least 45,000 people as well as important infrastructure, including hospitals, learning centres, aid distribution points and a registration centre. At least 15 people were reported dead and 400 missing.

Cost of Being ’Honour Bearers’ Sexual Violence During Communal Riots in India

Delayed, or no, justice and perpetrators’ impunity effectively silence rape and sexual assault survivors of communal violence in India. Activists and human rights lawyers have been speaking out about how rape and sexual violence, especially during communal conflicts, aims to humiliate religious and other minorities by turning the women into symbols of dishonour.

Indonesia’s Climate Villages Where Communities Work Together to Mitigate Climate Change

Residents of Ngadirejo village in Sukaharjo regency, Central Java province, had often found themselves helpless when their wells dried up or water flooded through their homes. But thanks to a national campaign called Program Kampung Iklim, known by its acronym ProKlim, they now have solutions to this flooding that generally occurs because of a lack of adequate water catchments.

A Healthy Indian Ocean Feeds, Protects, and Connects all South Asians

It is the oceans that engendered life. The lives of humans remain connected to the seas, making the good health of the seas and the efficient management of sea-based activity essential elements for the wellbeing of people and nations.

Women and Girls to the Front

Women hold up half the sky. Some years ago, Sarah al-Amiri, a young Emirati engineer, had a fixed gaze beyond the sky and towards our galaxy. “Space was a sector that we never dared to dream growing up,” she noted.

Getting to Better than Normal in a Post-COVID-19 World

Girls in Asia don't want to go back to normal – they want to go "back to better than normal", says Zara Rapoport, a delegate during an online seminar on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on gender.

Conserving Tigers, Elephants and Bison, One LPG Stove at a Time

As the sun sets over the canopy of Albizia amara trees, a thin blanket of fog begins to descend over the forests of the Malai Mahadeshwara Hills Wildlife Sanctuary, which lies roughly 150 km south of the Indian city of Bangalore. Not so long ago, plumes of smoke would rise from the hamlets dotting the forests as women busily cooked dinner for their families over wood stoves. But tonight, dinner will be a smokeless affair in dozens of villages as communities have opted for the use of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), a clean burning fuel that has given a boost to the health and safety of both the forest and its people thanks to a unique conservation project.

Covid19 a Wake-up Call to Address Development Fault Lines in Asia and the Pacific

The world is emerging from the biggest social and economic shock in living memory, but it will be a long time before the deep scars of the COVID-19 pandemic on human well-being fully heal. In the Asia-Pacific region, where 60 per cent of the world lives, the pandemic revealed chronic development fault lines through its excessively harmful impact on the most vulnerable. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) estimates that 89 million more people in the region have been pushed back into extreme poverty at the $1.90 per day threshold, erasing years of development gains. The economic and educational shutdowns are likely to have severely harmed human capital formation and productivity, exacerbating poverty and inequality.

Why Rehabilitation is as Vital as Rescue for Child Trafficking Survivors

Twelve-year-old Babloo’s (Name changed) parents, who worked as daily wage agricultural labourers in the eastern Indian state of Bihar, were finding it difficult to feed their family of six. They had recently lost their eldest son to sudden illness, when a distant relative convinced them to send Babloo with him to work in a city. He promised to pay Rs 5000 ($70) a month, a significant amount for the impoverished family.

Arab Region Counts Cost of Devastating COVID-19 Pandemic

More than eight million people moved onto the poverty line in the Arab region, a conference of Arab and Asian parliamentarians heard. The hybrid conference, held simultaneously in Beirut, Lebanon, and via video conferencing to delegates in Asia and the Arab region, was a follow up on earlier discussions on the regions' ICPD25 Commitments.

Bangladesh Welcomes a New High Yielding Biofortified Zinc Rice

The Bangladesh National Seed Board has approved the release of the newest biofortified zinc rice variety in the country: the BRRI dhan100. This latest zinc rice variety was developed by the Bangladesh Rice Research Institute (BRRI). HarvestPlus assists BRRI in crop development and breeder seed production of biofortified zinc rice.

After the Fire: Rebuilding of Rohingya Camp a Race Against Time Ahead of Monsoon Season

The building that was once the largest health centre in the Kutupalong refugee camp, serving some 55,000 Rohingya refugees 24/7, is now a burnt, distorted shell after a massive fire spread through the Cox’s Bazar camp in Bangladesh this week. And as the tens of thousands of affected Rohingya return to the empty pieces of land that where once their homes, the need to rebuild — both the health facility and their homes — has added impetus because of the current COVID-19 pandemic and the coming monsoon season.

Human Rights Groups Demand an end to Myanmar Military’s Crackdown on Journalists

Two human rights groups have called on the military in Myanmar to release journalists arbitrarily jailed and allow them to work without harassment and prosecution. Amnesty International and the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) told IPS that they will double down on those demands until all journalists are released and the operating licenses of newsgroups are restored.

Five Steps to Combat Gender-Based Violence Globally

The 410 Legal Aid Centers that I manage in Bangladesh for BRAC’s Human Rights and Legal Aid Services received approximately 35,900 requests for assistance in 2020. Almost all of them involve gender-based violence against women and girls.

Sustainable Development Goals Can Guide Asia-Pacific to Build Back Better

The COVID-19 crisis poses an unprecedented threat to development in the Asia-Pacific region that could reverse much of the hard-earned progress made in recent years. The good news is we know how to tackle this challenge. Recovery from the pandemic and our global efforts to deliver the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 must go hand-in-hand. The Goals provide a compass to navigate this crisis, faster and greener, everywhere and for everyone.

COP26 and India’s NDCs

Climate change is one of the most pressing issues that the world is collectively facing at the moment. It is contended that strengthening the global response is pertinent to combat the threat of climate change.

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