Governments have made the media “a scapegoat” across Asia, targeting journalists who are simply reporting on the failures or shortcomings of their leadership during the coronavirus pandemic, press freedom experts have warned.
In the Philippines, May has long been a month of joy when farmers harvest their rice crop and celebrate the Pahiyas harvest festival. But this year, the mood was somber. The food production and supply system also affected, thanks to the coronavirus lockdown, and the economy frozen. As a result, millions of Filipinos, especially senior citizens, are now looking at an uncertain future.
COVID-19 has brought the world to a halt. Nations, businesses, and schools have closed, and billions are confined to their homes. Yet millions of care workers step out daily to keep the lights on and support those in need.
Maliha Masud (25), was promised an affluent life and opportunities for higher education. A bright student studying Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, she wanted to complete her studies and become someone her parents would be proud of. She was promised an opportunity to get her Master’s degree from a good university in the United States but, two years later, was left battered and wounded at the doorstep of a shelter.
Lockdowns have been the main measures to ‘flatten the curve’ of COVID-19 infections. But lockdowns typically incur huge economic costs, distributed unevenly in economies and societies. In fact, some governments
acknowledged that they were choosing ‘life over economy’.
‘Life vs. Economy’: A false dichotomy
As lockdowns have been repeatedly extended arguing that economy can be revived but not the dead
, it has become increasingly clear that ‘lives and livelihoods’ are intrinsically intertwined. The longer the lockdowns, higher is the risk of hunger and hence death.
Landless farmers who produce rice for the landlords of big “haciendas” can’t get more than a little pocket money from their harsh work—not enough to provide diverse and healthy food for their families. Seasonal workers on sugar-cane plantations know that they can count on only six months of earnings. When summer arrives, those whose irrigation facilities have been destroyed by typhoons, or those who never had any, struggle while waiting for the rain.
I can’t breathe, please! Let me up, please! I can’t breathe! I can’t breathe!
These words are not the words of George Floyd
or Eric Garner
. They weren’t uttered on the streets of Minneapolis or New York. These are the final words
of a 26-year-old Dunghutti man who died in a prison in south-eastern Sydney.
Consider this. 24 women, children and babies were murdered at a hospital in Kabul, the Afghan capital. Even by standards of a country as accustomed to bloodshed as Afghanistan, the May 12 attack on a Kabul maternity clinic was an event of unmitigated horror
As of 11 AM (AEST) on 20th May 2020 the incidence of COVID-19 virus (henceforth virus) on the Pacific Islands was limited. Active cases (deaths) in some of the Pacific Islands were Australia 7,072 (100), New Zealand 1,503 (21), PNG 8(0), Guam 154 (5), Fiji 18 (0), Timor-Leste 24 (0), French Polynesia 60(0), and New Caledonia 18(0).1
Standards of comparison are not uniform across the region since testing capacities of the various countries differ widely. The low number of cases in the smaller Pacific Islands compared to their larger neighbours, i.e., Australia and New Zealand, reflect both variations in testing standards as well as their smaller population size. The smaller Pacific Islands were also not subject to some of the aberrations experienced by the larger countries, e.g., large number of arrivals from foreign countries in planes and cruise ships.
While most of the world self-isolates at home and skies are emptier than they have been for decades, humanitarian flights transporting life-saving aid are revving up around Asia and the Pacific.
Amid the social distancing measures posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, coastal communities in Bangladesh and India face a double threat as the record-breaking Cyclone Amphan made landfall yesterday (May 20).
Coronavirus outbreaks in China and later across the globe have been unprecedented in both its scale and impacts. In the era of changing world order, this pandemic has drawn the global attention towards the threats posed by the non-traditional security challenges.
A single mother, Mai (name changed) had the responsibility of providing for her young son and grandparents, who had brought her up in a poor rural province in southern Vietnam’s Mekong Delta. While she was looking for employment, somebody approached her on social media with an offer of a high-paying job in China. When she arrived in China, she was sold into a forced marriage.
Children residing in Child Care Institutions (CCIs, commonly known as orphanages) in India have often found themselves to be the forgotten lot, when it comes to support and development initiatives by the government. This has also been the case during the current lockdown.
Aged 17, Moe Turaga was saddled with the responsibility of providing for his mother and young siblings when a family member approached him with the promise of a job and education in Australia. Dreaming of a bright future for himself and his family, he seized the opportunity and left the protective confines of his home in Fiji, only to find himself trapped in modern slavery on a remote agriculture farm in the state of Victoria.
Mongolia is one of the most sparsely populated countries in the world. Yet, more than 70 percent of its surface is affected by land degradation. Mining activities in several parts of the country have been a source of humanitarian and environmental concern. However, different stakeholders are coming together to work towards restoration and rehabilitation.
Memories of idyllic beaches and sonorous waves may seem far away while we remain at home. Yet, we need not look far to appreciate the enduring history of the ocean in Asia and the Pacific. For generations, the region has thrived on our seas. Our namesake bears a nod to the Pacific Ocean, a body of water tethered to the well-being of billions in our region. The seas provide food, livelihoods and a sense of identity, especially for coastal communities in the Pacific island States.
As the COVID-19 mayhem carries on in most countries, the role of mothers, daughters, and female caregivers have been affected the most. Besides looking after the household and home schooling children, they are also working on the front lines, actively or passively caring for their respective communities.
A former Pakistani child bride, who was wrongly accused of killing her husband at 13 and subsequently spent almost two decades in prison, is making history by being the first victim of a miscarriage of justice to seek compensation from the state, say legal human rights experts.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shown us something that most of us haven’t seen in our lifetimes: Large numbers of people unable to have two meals a day.