This article discusses the threats to maritime security in Southeast Asia, describes the factors tending toward strengthened maritime security cooperation, and argues that networks of bilateral relationships may be more fruitful than purely multilateral arrangements. The first section, a historical overview of maritime cooperation in Southeast Asia from the end of the Cold War through December 2004, is followed by a survey of contemporary maritime security threats. The article then discusses five significant factors that now favor improved maritime cooperation. It concludes with the various forms that future cooperation might take and speculation as to which are mostly likely in light of evolving state interests and constraints.
April 9, 2005 Institute of Defence and Strategic Studies // Nanyang Technological University
At the beginning of 2005, Southeast Asian security cooperation is still regarded as inadequate to defend the region against maritime threats. However, structural, economic and normative factors are enabling greater cooperation in the post-9/11 "Age of Terror". This article opens with a brief outline of the history of Southeast Asian maritime security cooperation from 1990 to December 2004, and then discusses the various maritime threats faced by the region. It next describes five factors that are enabling greater maritime security cooperation in the Age of Terror. The potential application of those factors is assessed to anticipate the most likely forms of future regional cooperation. While cooperation will expand on many levels the most fruitful cooperation will result from improved networks of bilateral relationships. Information in this working paper will be of interest to those seeking to understand the cooperation and security dynamics of this important and intensely maritime region. It should be of specific interest to those policymakers seeking to improve international cooperation to combat Southeast Asian transnational maritime threats such as terrorism, piracy and smuggling....
Last October, at the Ninth Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Bali, the leaders of the organization formally declared their aim of establishing a security community in Southeast Asia by the year 2020. The declaration serves as a bold statement of the ASEAN members' attempts to rejuvenate an institution at once plagued by internal paralysis and subject #to assault from the forces of Islamic radicalism. Hopes are high within ASEAN. As ASEAN Deputy Secretary-General Wilfrido Villacorta noted: "This security communityxe2x80xa6[will] strengthen national and regional capacity to counter terrorism, drug trafficking, trafficking in persons and transnational crime." This is not mere rhetoric. In early March this year, the ASEAN foreign ministers met in Vietnam's scenic Halong Bay to make headway on initiatives to build a security community. One idea under serious consideration is the establishment of an ASEAN peacekeeping force. An increasing number of scholars and the organization itself argue that ASEAN should strive to realize the goal of a forming a security community. ...
December 14, 2006 British Broadcasting Corporation
Little is known about the ethnic Hmong people, and even less about those rumoured to be fighting a low-level war against the Lao Government. But what seems certain, according to numerous human rights reports, is that many of the Hmong in Laos have a poor standard of living, and often feel marginalised by the authorities.
Laos is a source and, to a lesser extent, transit and destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of forced labor and sexual exploitation. Many Lao victims are economic migrants who become victims of involuntary servitude or commercial sexual exploitation in Thailand. A small number of victims from the People's Republic of China and Vietnam are trafficked to Laos to work as street vendors and for sexual exploitation in prostitution. According to one study, a very small number of female citizens were trafficked to China to become brides for Chinese men....
May 26, 2006 United Nations // Electronic Mine Information Network
The recently established National Regulatory Authority (NRA) is the national institution in charge of the coordination, regulation and monitoring of all unexploded ordnance (UXO) and mine action operations in the Lao People's Democratic Republic. The government has officially adopted the National Strategic Plan (NSP) for the UXO/mine action sector ("The Safe Path Forward") for the period 2003 xe2x8#0x93 2013. The plan calls for an institutional reform of the sector and for a return of "independent operators" in the clearance sector. The objective of the plan is to improve the overall efficiency of the sector and hence its impact on the socioeconomic development of the country....
The name "Pathet Lao" (Land of Laos) refers to the communist movement that occurred in Laos beginning in the 1950s and was the Laotian equivalent of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge and Vietnam's Viet Cong. The movement was formed by Prince Souphanouvong in North Vietnam during the first Indochine war between France and Vietnamese communists. The Pathet Lao was committed to the communist struggle against colonialism. In 1953, the Pathet Lao guerrillas accompanied a Viet Minh invasion of Laos from Vietnam and established a government at Samneua in northern Laos. Soon after Laos was granted full sovereignty from France. Civil war followed soon after however, as the Pathet Lao made several attacks on central Laos and making considerable gains. An agreement between the Pathet Lao and royal forces was reached in 1957, but only two years later the coalition government collapsed and fighting resumed. Soon a three-way civil war was upon the country, between the Pathet Lao, the right-wing government who controlled the Royal Laotian Army (this was the force recognized by the United States and other western countries), and the Soviet-recognized neutralist forces of Souvanna Phouma, who had fled to Cambodia....
The People's Republic of China had been convenient allies during the Vietnam War despite being traditional enemies. With the American defeat in 1975 it would not take long for the traditional animosity to become the norm once again. Once the communist victory was secured in Vietnam the new communist government began perusing relations with the Soviet Union. However with the Sino-Soviet split and the PRC's improving relations with the United States, Vietnam's ties with Moscow would contribute to increasing tensions between Vietnam and the PRC. Tensions further increased with Vietnam's 1978 invasions of Laos and Cambodia and with Vietnam's expulsion of ethnic Chinese in Vietnam....
July 17, 2007 TcOpZGVjaW5zIFNhbnMgRnJvbnRpw6hyZXM=
More than 7,000 Hmong refugees at the Huai Nam Khao camp in Phetchabun, Thailand, are in danger of being returned to Laos, where they fear political persecution for cooperating with the United States government during the US-Vietnam War. To this day, the Hmong continue to hide in the remote jungles of Laos, and thousands languish in squalid camps where conditions are crowded and epidemics are a constant threat. The Thai government is now deporting Hmong refugees upon entry to the country-more than 160 Hmong were deported back to Laos earlier this month. Emmanuel Drouhin, Doctors Wi#thout Borders/Médecins Sans Frontixc3xa8res (MSF) program manager for Thailand, provides an update on an increasingly precarious situation. ...
The Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), in the heart of South East Asia, provides a frightening example of the long-term impact of remote, mechanised war on civilian populations. Whilst landmines have been stigmatised internationally for their crippling impact on civilian communities after conflict, the capacity for other unexploded ordnance (UXO) to continue killing and to restrict social and economic development is less well understood. The Lao government's unexploded ordnance authority, UXO LAO, is working in partnership with specialist non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and the United Nations (UN), to address the lethal remnants of a conflict that finished some 25 years ago. ...
Despite decades of experience with hosting millions of refugees, Thailand’s refugee
policies remain fragmented, unpredictable, inadequate and ad hoc, leaving refugees
unnecessarily vulnerable to arbitrary and abusive treatment. Thailand is not a party to the
1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees (1951 Refugee Convention) or its 1967
Protocol. It has no refugee law or formalized asylum procedures. The lack of a legal
framework leaves refugees and asylum seekers in a precarious state, making their stay in
Thailand uncertain and their status unclear.
Burmese refugees in Thailand face a stark choice: they can stay in one of the refugee
camps along the border with Burma and be relatively protected from arrest and summary
removal to Burma but without freedom to move or work. Or, they can live and work outside
the camps, but typically without recognized legal status of any kind, leaving them at risk of
arrest and deportation. It is a choice refugees should not be compelled to make. Many of
those who decide to live in the camps do so without being formally registered or
recognized. And many of those living outside the camps find the process of applying for
and gaining migrant worker status to be prohibitively expensive and out of reach, leaving
them vulnerable to exploitation, arrest, and deportation....
More than 350,000 people identified as drug users are held in compulsory drug "treatment" centers in China and Southeast Asia. Detainees are held without due process for periods of months or years and may be subjected to physical and sexual abuse, torture, and forced labor. International donors and UN agencies have supported and funded drug detention centers, while centers have systematically denied detainees access to evidence-based drug dependency treatment and HIV prevention services. "Torture in the Name of Treatment," summarizes Human Rights Watch’s findings over five years of research in China, Cambodia, Vietnam, and Lao PDR....
Existing interstate relationships, evolving demographic trends, economic growth, climate
change, and human efforts to manage fresh water availability will determine the quantity and
quality of available water supplies in the coming decades. The interplay of these factors make
water availability both a human security and national security issue.
This report, which resulted from a January 29 meeting, considers specific in-country cases, including Yemen and Afghanistan, and transboundary cases including the river basins of the Mekong, Ganges, Mahakali, and Indus rivers. Over the course of the day, the assembled experts examined environmental, institutional, and socio-economic trends affecting surface and groundwater supplies in selected regions and assessed dynamics that could contribute to political conflict, perturb regional power relations, or pose humanitarian concerns warranting external engagement. This report also considers criteria for identifying basins where future tensions or instabilities could emerge and assesses the roles that technological innovations, market mechanisms, river basin institutions, and other policy approaches play in the cooperative management of shared water resources....
Freedom House has prepared this special
report entitled Worst of the Worst: The
World’s Most Repressive Societies, as a
companion to its annual survey on the state of
global political rights and civil liberties,
Freedom in the World. The special report
provides summary country reports, tables, and
graphical information on the countries that
receive the lowest combined ratings for
political rights and civil liberties in Freedom
in the World, and whose citizens endure
systematic and pervasive human rights
report serves a reminder that over 1.6 billion
people—more than 24 percent of the world’s
population—suffer every day from the basic
indignities of not being able to express their
thoughts and opinions, of not having a say in
who governs them and how the wealth of
their land and labor is spent, and of being
unable to obtain justice for crimes perpetrated
against them. Hundreds of thousands
of human beings in these countries languish
every day in prisons or labor camps—
generally in subhuman conditions and subject
to physical or mental abuse—purely for their
political or religious beliefs. This report seeks
to highlight their plight and serves as a call to
the world’s governments, policymakers,
human rights organizations, and democracy
advocates to speak out and use whatever
resources they can bring to bear to improve respect for the most basic human rights in
April 7, 2011 Institute for Security and Development Policy
The Mekong River – Southeast Asia’s largest river – runs from the Tibetan Plateau and through China’s
Yunnan province. This part of the river is heavily dammed. South of China, as it goes through Burma,
Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam, has been spared. That might soon be changing as Laos, backed by Thailand,
is set to start the construction of the 1260 megawatt Xayaburi hydroelectric plant. Vietnam opposes
this plan and claims that the future of the river, and the communities along it, will be threatened. National
interests are clearly pitted against each other. The split regarding the future of the Mekong River threatens
to damage the relations between Laos and Vietnam and increase regional insecurity....
In a much-cited recent article, Obermeyer, Murray, and Gakidou [2008a] examine estimates of wartime fatalities from injuries for thirteen countries. Their analysis poses a
major challenge to the battle-death estimating methodology widely used by conflict
researchers, engages with the controversy over whether war deaths have been increasing
or decreasing in recent decades, and takes the debate over different approaches to battledeath estimation to a new level. In making their assessments, the authors compare war
death reports extracted from World Health Organization [WHO] sibling survey data
with the battle-death estimates for the same countries from the International Peace
Research Institute, Oslo [PRIO]. The analysis that leads to these conclusions is not
compelling, however. Thus, while the authors argue that the PRIO estimates are too low
by a factor of three, their comparison fails to compare like with like. Their assertion that
there is “no evidence” to support the PRIO finding that war deaths have recently
declined also fails. They ignore war-trend data for the periods after 1994 and before
1955, base their time trends on extrapolations from a biased convenience sample of only
thirteen countries, and rely on an estimated constant that is statistically insignificant....