(IPS Asia-Pacific) – Although it is six years old, few know what the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) does. It has been called toothless, though its creation was seen as a step forward given the principle of non-interference in the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
When his father drove back to pay the 47 Malaysian cents they owed to the food stall they had just left, then nine-year-old Anis Yusal Yusoff, today president and chief executive officer of the Malaysian Institute of Integrity, learned the meaning of standing firm by one’s values.
A regional agreement on managing transboundary haze caused by fires raging in Indonesia’s forests and peatlands appears all but buried in the embers of frustration of its neighbouring countries.
Following growing concerns in the United States about the risks of trans fat since 1999, demand for palm oil, a cheap substitute for trans fat, more than doubled over the last decade and is expected to increase, eliciting concerns about deforestation in several Southeast Asian countries that provide 85 percent of the world’s palm oil.
Home to an estimated 3.74 billion people, the Asia-Pacific region holds over half the global population, determining to a great extent the level of economic stability, or chaos, in the world.
Every afternoon, Wahyu sets up his wooden food cart by the side of a busy road in Central Jakarta to sell sweet buns, known as ‘bakpao’, to people passing by. In a good month, the street vendor can make around 800,000 rupiah, which amounts to roughly 62 dollars.
In a populous archipelago nation like Indonesia, where 250 million live spread across some 17,500 islands, speaking over 300 languages, the question of development is a tricky one.
The statistics tell the story: in some parts of the world, four times as many women as men die during floods; in some instances women are 14 times more likely to die during natural disasters than men.
Driven by solar and wind, world investments in renewable energy reversed a two-year dip last year, brushing aside the challenge from sharply lower oil prices and registering a 17 percent leap over the previous year to stand at 270 billion dollars.
Debt restructuring is a component of crisis management and resolution, and needs to be treated in the context of the current economic conjuncture and vulnerabilities.
When Indonesia’s law and human rights minister visited one of the country’s prisons in December last year, he met a Nigerian convict on death row for drug trafficking, who performed songs for him before leaving him with a parting gift.
Over the past three decades, 50 percent of the 544,150 square kilometres that comprise Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of the island of Borneo, has been taken over by the palm oil industry.
More than 40 human rights groups from around the world have penned an open letter to Indonesian President Joko Widodo, pleading for the halting of 10 imminent executions.
Nearly half of the four billion people who reside in the Asia-Pacific region are women. They comprise two-thirds of the region’s poor, with millions either confined to their homes or pushed into the informal labour market where they work without any safeguards for paltry daily wages. Millions more become victims of trafficking and are forced into prostitution or sexual slavery.
When I am asked whether Europe is still a relevant “protagonist” in the modern world, I always answer that there is no doubt about it. For a long time now, the continent has been shaken by financial crises, internal security strategy crises – including wars – and instability within its borders, which definitely make it a protagonist in world affairs.