Asia-Pacific

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.

Multilateralism and the Chinese Dream

“Pursuing protectionism is like locking oneself in a dark room,” Chinese President Xi Jinping warned the assembled leaders at the World Economic Forum earlier this year. “While wind and rain may be kept outside, that dark room will also block light and air.”

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.

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.

Autism in Bangladesh: Reducing Discrimination Through Innovation

Within the last 5 years, thanks to political support and national education, autism awareness in Bangladesh has grown immensely. Due to a lack of funds and resources, providing full comprehensive evidence based services for those in need is not yet possible, but with a continuation of our current progression, it is certainly an attainable goal. Credit for our tremendous success in providing public awareness and understanding of the challenges faced by families with autism is ultimately, thanks to the dedication and resilience of those very families.

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.

Children Tapped to End Child Marriage in Indonesia

The Indonesian government is tapping children as advocates against child marriage in this Southeast Asian country where over 340,000 girls get married before they reach 18 years old every year.

Barefoot Solar Warriors Take On Gender Injustice and Climate Change

On a summer morning in 2008, Magan Kawar decided to leave her village for a job. The very next day, her parents-in-law excommunicated her.

Maritime Boundary Dispute Masks Need for Economic Diversity in Timor-Leste

Juvinal Dias has first-hand experience of mistreatment at the hands of a foreign power. Born in 1981 in Tutuala, a village in the far east of Timor-Leste, Dias’ family fled into the jungle following the 1975 invasion by Indonesia.

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