Asia-Pacific

Parcels for Prisoners: Exiled Myanmar Activists Keep the Revolutionary Faith

Rangoon Nights is rocking. The bar is on its feet and the cocktail shaker is shaking in abandon as the band Born In Burma starts pumping out its beat. Except we’re not in Rangoon or Burma (officially called Myanmar), but in the northern Thai town of Chiangmai which has evolved into a hub for activists, fugitives, and those taking a break from the war tearing their country apart.

Voices from the World Social Forum 2024 – PODCAST

After interviewing a member of the Nepal organizing committee ahead of opening day, I was excited about covering my first ever World Social Forum (WSF). He suggested that at least 30,000 and as many as 50,000 activists from over 90 countries would attend the three-day event.

Pakistan’s Election Outcomes Leave Many Unhappy

Pakistan’s 8 February election has resulted in an uneasy compromise that few wanted or expected. There’s little indication the outcome is going to reverse recent regression in civic freedoms.

Cambodia’s Declining Fish Catch: Can the Tide Be Reversed?

Living in a floating village means embracing the rhythm of the ever-changing water. As I stroll through Kampong Khleang, flanked by wooden stilt houses lining sandy streets, I witness daily life unfolding.  Alongside staircases, people prepare meals or run their little shops.

New Anti-Rape Crisis Centre Brings Hope for Sexual Abuse Survivors in Pakistan

Medical experts and women's rights activists are pinning hopes on the establishment of an anti-rape crisis centre for the provision of medical and legal aid to victims of sexual assaults in a timely manner will ensure convictions. Currently, it takes years to bring the perpetrators of rape to justice due to a lack of evidence and more often than not, the accused get acquitted.

Snowless Winter and a Climate Crisis: Kashmir’s ‘Unprecedented’ Weather

Abdul Gani Malik, a 75-year-old goldsmith living in Kashmir’s capital, Srinagar, has witnessed eras of tranquility and turbulence in the Himalayan region. What he has not seen, however, is a snowless Kashmir during the winter.

Another World Seen Through the Lenses of Gender and Sexuality

On a white canvas, people were painting different structures, objects and creatures in a range of colours. Kavita Sada Musahar’s creation was on its way to becoming a painting — with houses, humans, birds, trees and rivers — and a bright red heart.

World Social Forum Activists Unravel Roots of Israel’s Occupation of Gaza

Romi Ghimire has a busy life running a non-profit organization dedicated to Nepal’s rural people, but she also feels driven to do something about Gaza. “There are a lot of issues happening in the world, but right now the genocide in Gaza is the most urgent one,” she said inside the Palestine tent at the World Social Forum (WSF) in Kathmandu on Saturday.

Local Knowledge and Women’s Leadership are Key to Food Justice: Activists

Manjula Dungdung is explaining why she is fighting for land and agricultural rights for herself and other members of the Kharia tribe, who grow the food they eat. “Women’s right to land is especially important because it is an issue of our dignity, and since we are the ones who do most of the agricultural work, it is to maintain food security.”

Grassroots Voices Unite to Call for Climate Justice

Kiprotich Peter from the East African country of Kenya is trying to convey his climate crisis message using the platform of the World Social Forum (WSF) taking place in the mountain nation of Nepal, which has also been battered by the impacts of climate change.

World Social Forum Insists: Another World is Possible!

These are the worst of times, but they can become the best of times, said speaker Dr. Walden Bello, seeking to inspire thousands of progressives who gathered for the World Social Forum (WSF) in Kathmandu on Thursday with the planet under clouds of armed conflict and assaults on democracy.

Last Chance Saloon? Myanmar Junta Imposes Military Conscription

The news travelled like wildfire. In the teashops, bars, and market stalls that make Thailand’s border town of Mae Sot feel far more Burmese than Thai, the feared rumours circulating at the weekend were suddenly confirmed. Military conscription would be imposed on young men and women for two to five years, regime-controlled broadcasters in Myanmar announced on the Saturday night airwaves. Details were sparse.

Nepal Farmers Face Another Year of ‘Agricultural Drought’, Threatening Food Security

Najboon Khatun looks up at the sky every day, searching for the possibility of rain. Clouds come and go without a drop of water. “Winter crops like wheat and vegetables need water, but like last year, there has been no rainfall yet,” says 65-year-old Khatun, expressing her anguish. In her village in Dhanusha, one of the agricultural hubs in the southern plains of Nepal, farmers mostly depend on rain as a source of irrigation. However, they are facing yet another year of drought, affecting winter crops, including wheat, mustard, lentils, and vegetables.

Climate Change Is Amplifying Households’ Food Insecurity, Putting More Pressure on Women’s Mental Health

Studies have long shown that some women’s lower status in Nepali households could mean that they eat last and less and as a result lack nutrition. Experts are now looking into how this could affect their mental health, and if the growing impacts of climate change might amplify the process.

Polycrises are Pushing More Women into Poverty: How can we Help Halt that Trend?

Let’s call her Anita. Four years ago, her life took an unexpected turn when the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted everything she knew. As businesses closed and economic uncertainty loomed, Anita, like countless others, found herself forced out of work. Providing for her three young children became a daily struggle, prompting her to seek informal work as a subsistence agricultural worker to ease the financial burden.

Yangon—A Junta-Ruled Bubble in a Fragmenting Myanmar

Landing in Rangoon nearly 100 years ago, a young Chilean poet described “a city of blood, dreams, and gold” with “leprous streets”. The flourishing capital of then British-ruled Burma and its major port were a must-see staging post on an Asian tour.

Embodying the Spirit of the Dragon

The Year of the Dragon is upon us. UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message for this Lunar New Year, “The dragon symbolizes energy, wisdom, protection and good luck. We need these qualities to rise to today’s global challenges.”

Hit by Climate Change, Authorities Seek to Improve Saffron Yields in Kashmir

Saffron, the expensive spice from the Kashmir Himalayas, has been facing challenges for years, mostly related to yields and inadequate irrigation compounded by the climate crisis.

Female Genital Mutilation and Cutting in Asia Remain a Neglected Problem

Significant advances have been made in Africa towards ending female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C). Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Asia, where FGM/C occurs in at least ten countries, but governments across the region are failing to take effective action. Women’s rights organizations are calling for states to introduce much-needed laws to criminalize FGM, provide national data on the extent and nature of the practice, and adequately fund efforts to tackle this regionally neglected problem.

Moimuna Nursing Institute Ushers Hope for Vulnerable Rural Girls in Bangladesh

After passing her secondary school certificate (SCC) in 2019, Sweety Akter went door-to-door to collect money to enroll in a college, but she wasn't successful. Born to an extremely poor family in Fultala village under Baliadangi upazila in Thakurgaon district, Akter saw her dream of studying fading as she was unable to enroll in a college because of a lack of funding, despite her good results at school.

Unlocking India’s Potential with AI

India is on the brink of a transformation that could change its economic and social future. Before the end of this decade, more Indians will use AI every day than in any other country in the world. What’s more, people in advanced economies will be surprised by the ways the country will use AI.

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