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Abstract: 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.
Abstract: 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.
Abstract: 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.
Abstract: 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.
Abstract: 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
Abstract: 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.
Abstract: The Portfolio of Mine Action Projects is a resource tool and reference document for donors, policy-makers, advocates, and national and international mine action implementers. The country and territory-specific proposals in the portfolio reflect strategic responses developed in the field to address all aspects of the problem of landmines and explosive remnants of war (ERW). This country and territory-based approach aims to present as comprehensive a picture as possible of the full range of mine action needs in particular countries and thematic issues related to mine action. The portfolio ideally reflects projects developed by mine- and ERW-affected countries and territories based on their priorities and strategies; the approaches are endorsed by national authorities. The portfolio does not automatically entail full-scale direct mine action assistance by the United Nations, but is in essence a tool for collaborative resource mobilization, coordination and planning of mine action activities involving partners and stakeholders. A country portfolio coordinator (CPC) leads each country portfolio team and coordinates the submission of proposals to the portfolio’s headquarters team. While the majority of the CPCs are UN officials, this role is increasingly being assumed by national authorities. The country portfolio teams include representatives from national and local authorities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the United Nations and the private sector. Locally based donor representatives are invited to attend preparation meetings. Each portfolio chapter contains a synopsis of the scope of the landmine and ERW problem, a description of how mine action is coordinated, and a snapshot of local mine action strategies. Many of the strategies complement or are integrated into broader development and humanitarian frameworks such as national development plans, the UN development assistance frameworks and national poverty reduction plans. This 14th edition of the annual Portfolio of Mine Action Projects features overviews and project outlines for 29 countries, territories or missions affected by landmines and explosive remnants of war. There are 238 projects in the 2011 portfolio. Africa accounts for the largest number: 92.
Abstract: Opium cultivation in South East-Asia remains relatively limited. Just under 34,000 hectares of
opium was grown in the region in 2009, a quarter of the amount grown in Afghanistan.
Worrisome is the situation in Myanmar where cultivation is up for the third year in a row – an
11% increase from 28,500 ha in 2008 to 31,700 ha in 2009. Most of this increase came in the Shan
State where 95% of Myanmar’s poppy is grown. More than a million people (most of them in the
Shan state) are now involved in opium cultivation in Myanmar, an increase of more than a quarter
However, the overall value of the crop is falling since yields were down 28% to 10.4 kg per
hectare, production fell 20% (to 330 metric tons), and prices are more or less stable (at just over
US$ 300/kg). In total, the potential value of opium production in Myanmar fell by 15% from US$
123 million in 2008 to US$ 104 million in 2009.
Increased instability in north-eastern Myanmar (where most of the opium is grown) seems to be
affecting the opium market. There are indications that ceasefire groups – autonomous ethnic
militias like the Wa and Kachin – are selling drugs to buy weapons, and moving stocks to avoid
While South-East Asia’s once notorious opium problem has been contained, there are worrying
signs that the situation in Myanmar is starting to unravel. Governments and donors need to stay
the course and ensure sufficient duration of commitment and funding for all aspects of the drug
issue: security, development, and health.
In Lao PDR, cultivation was up 19%, although the overall total is low at 1,900 ha, as is the yield at
6 kg/ha. Nevertheless, with a kilo of opium fetching US$ 1,327 per kilogram (due to stable
demand and scarce supply), this illicit crop remains attractive to farmers, especially as the prices
of other locally produced commodities are falling.
Abstract: The 63rd United Nations (UN) General Assembly is poised to debate Secretary-General Ban
Ki-moon’s report on the operationalisation of the Responsibility to Protect (referred to as ‘R2P’
for the remainder of this report). It is expected that his report will be released and debated in
early 2009. Therefore, this is a good time to examine the position that Member States have
adopted on the R2P since its endorsement at the 2005 World Summit and policy issues
relating to its implementation through the UN. This report will focus on the Member States of
the Association for South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) with the exception of Myanmar, which
is currently on the UN Security Council’s agenda. It concentrates on their position on the
R2P and their policy priorities in areas related to implementing the principle through the UN.
The report identifies steps that might encourage the region’s governments to become more
positively engaged with the R2P principle.
Abstract: Humanitarian mine action refers to activities undertaken to reduce the effect caused by land-mines and other explosive remnants of war in terms of social, economic and environmental impact of mines. The objective is the reduction of risk to a level where people can live safely and where economic, social, and health development can occur without hindrance from land-mines. This report documents how Norwegian People's Aid (NPA) are working in humanitarian mine action. Case studies are presented include Bosnia Herzegovina, Cambodia and Croatia, Ethiopia and Iraq and Malawi.
The document recommends that the mine action community needs to develop, implement and standardise new globally accepted methods and approaches to de-mining. Full mine and battle area clearance is costly and time consuming; hence such activities should be a last option, only to be used when the presence of land-mines and/or explosive remnants of war has been confirmed by technical survey. The immediate objective of mine action programmes should be to release land suspected to be hazardous as cost efficiently as possible and with a quality that meets the requirements of international and national mine action standards. NPA believes that land can be released through three different actions:
* cancellation: the process in which an area is released based on information gathered and analysis only
* reduction: the process in which one or more mine clear- ance tools have been used to gather information about the presence/absence of mines
* clearance: "full clearance" according to International and National Standards for Mine Action.
Abstract: This paper quantifies the impact of terrorism and conflicts on income per capita growth in Asia for 1970–2004. Our panel estimations show that transnational terrorist attacks had a significant growth-limiting effect. Transnational terrorism reduces growth by crowding in government expenditures. An internal conflict has the greatest growth concern, about twice that of transnational terrorism. For developing Asian countries, intrastate and interstate wars have a much greater impact than terrorism does on the crowding-in of government spending.
Policy recommendations indicate the need for rich Asian countries to assist their poorer neighbors in coping with the negative growth consequences of political violence. Failure to assist may result in region-wide repercussions. Conflict and terrorism in one country can create production bottlenecks with region-wide economic consequences. International and nongovernmental organizations as well as developed Western countries and regions could assist at-risk Asian countries with attack prevention and post-attack recovery.
This study has six purposes. First, and foremost, we present panel estimates for a sample of 42 Asian countries to quantify the impact of terrorism and conflicts on income per capita growth for 1970–2004. Panel estimation methods control for country-specific and timespecific unobserved heterogeneity. Second, we distinguish the influence of terrorism on economic growth from that of internal and external conflicts. Third, these influences are investigated for cohorts of developed and developing countries to ascertain whether development can better allow a country to absorb the impact of political violence. Fourth, econometric estimations relate violence-induced growth reductions to two pathways— reduced investment and increased government expenditures. Fifth, a host of diagnostic and sensitivity tests to support our empirical specifications. Last, we draw some policy conclusions.
Abstract: Edition 2008. Réunis le temps d’un week-end (30 mai– 1er juin) dans le
confort du Shangri-La Hotel de Singapour — un cadre propice à l’étude des
grands enjeux contemporains de sécurité en Asie…—, les représentants des
27 délégations officielles ont honoré de leur présence et enrichi de leurs réflexions
ce 7eme rendez-vous annuel, plus connu sous le vocable informel de
Shangri-La Dialogue. Un forum annuel unique en son genre en Asie, organisé
par le prestigieux International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) londonien,
lequel célébrait au passage son demi-siècle d’existence de fort belle manière.
Evénement sur lequel les médias occidentaux s’arrêtent de coutume fort peu,
ce « sommet » aux atours moins protocolaires concentre deux jours durant
une somme inédite de décideurs politiques (ministres ; parlementaires) et
militaires (officiers d’état-major), d’experts (institutions internationales ; fonctionnaires
; chercheurs), d’hommes d’affaires et de journalistes autour d’une
pléiade de séances plénières, de tables rondes et de débats publics (et de
réunions plus restreintes...). La diversité et le sérieux des thèmes abordés
(voir p.2), la qualité des intervenants et des échanges, les inévitables
« déclarations » collatérales et autres réactions « à chaud », justifient qu’on
lui consacre ci-après quelque attention.
Abstract: U.S. Secretary of State Alexander Haig, in a speech in West Berlin in September 1981 and in a detailed report to the Congress the following March, charged Soviet- backed Laotian and Vietnamese forces with waging toxin warfare against Hmong resistance fighters and their villages in Laos and against Khmer Rouge
soldiers and villages in Cambodia. The charges were repeated with additional details in a further report to the Congress and to the member states of the United Nations in November 1982 by Haig’s successor, Secretary of State George Shultz. The investigation on which the allegation was based, however, failed to employ
reliable methods of witness interrogation or of forensic laboratory investigation; it was further marred by the dismissal and withholding of contrary evidence and a lack of independent review. When the evidence for toxin attacks or any other form of chemical/biological warfare (CBW) was subjected to more careful examination, it could not be confirmed or was discredited. In what became known as the “Yellow Rain” affair, these charges—that toxic substances called trichothecenes were used in CBW—were initially pressed vigorously by the U.S. government and, even when the allegations proved unsustainable, they were not withdrawn.
Abstract: Au moins 21 pays et quatre régions d’Afrique, du Moyen-Orient, d’Asie et d’Europe sont aujourd’hui touchés par le problème des armes à dispersion, ou l’ont été au cours des cinquante dernières années. Dans certains pays, les armes à dispersion ont été employées de manière extensive : au Laos, par exemple, des bombes à sous-munitions ont été larguées tout au long d’une période de neuf ans (1964 à 1973), plaçant la population à la merci de cet héritage meurtrier (GICHD, février 2007). Dans d’autres contextes, bien que l’emploi de telles armes ait été plus limité, les conséquences sont tout aussi graves. Au Kosovo, par exemple, où le conflit n’a duré que 11 semaines, ce sont au total entre 230 000 et 290 000 sousmunitions qui auraient été larguées
* Quels sont les pays et les régions les plus touchés par le problème ?
* Quelles difficultés surviennent-elles dans les zones infestées de sous-munitions d’armes à dispersion ?
Abstract: 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.
Abstract: This overview report is a companion to the annual
survey on the state of global political rights and civil liberties, Freedom in the
The reports are excerpted from Freedom in the World 2007, which surveys the
state of freedom in 193 countries and 15 select territories. The ratings and
accompanying essays are based on events from December 1, 2005 through
December 31, 2006. The 17 countries and 3 territories profiled in this report are
drawn from the total of 45 countries and 7 territories that are considered to be
Not Free and whose citizens endure systematic and pervasive human rights
Included in this report are eight countries judged to have the worst records:
Burma, Cuba, Libya, North Korea, Somalia, Sudan, Turkmenistan, and
Uzbekistan. Also included are two territories, Chechnya and Tibet, whose
inhabitants suffer intense repression. These states and regions received the
Freedom House survey's lowest rating: 7 for political rights and 7 for civil
liberties. Within these entities, state control over daily life is pervasive and
wide-ranging, independent organizations and political opposition are banned or
suppressed, and fear of retribution for independent thought and action is part of
daily life. In the case of Chechnya, the rating in large measure reflects the fallout
of a vicious conflict that in the last 12 years has disrupted normal life and
resulted in some 200,000 deaths.
The report also includes nine further countries near the bottom of Freedom
House's list of the most repressive: Belarus, China, Cote d'Ivoire, Equatorial
Guinea, Eritrea, Laos, Saudi Arabia, Syria, and Zimbabwe. The territory of
Western Sahara is also included in this group. While these states scored slightly
better than the "worst of the worst," they offer very limited scope for private
discussion while severely suppressing opposition political activity, impeding
independent organizing, and censoring or punishing criticism of the state.
Massive human rights violations take place in nearly every part of the world.
This year's roster of the "most repressive" includes countries from the Americas,
the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa, and East Asia; they represent a wide array
of cultures and levels of economic development. This report from Freedom
House to the United Nations focuses on states and regions that have seen some
of the world's most severe repression and most systematic and brutal violations
of human dignity. The report seeks to focus the attention of the United Nations
Human Rights Council on states and territories that deserve investigation and
condemnation for their widespread violations.
[Ed. note: Exact publishing date not given]
Abstract: The Mekong River winds its way from China through Burma (Myanmar), Laos, Thailand and Cambodia, before spilling out over the Mekong Delta in Vietnam. It is one of the world's busiest migratory regions, as people struggling to survive in their own countries seek new opportunities. Past inattention by these countries to document this movement has left migrants defenceless against exploitation and formed a major hotspot of human trafficking. In 2005, over 1.3 million people were estimated to have been trafficked into forced labour in Asia - around 55% of the world's trafficking industry. The trademark of this crime is the invisibility of its victims: young girls kept under lock and key in brothels, ragged child beggars beaten by their "owners" for being unable to raise enough sympathy for a handful of coins, young fishermen told at sea that their wage will be with-held to pay their migration debt. Those involved, whether traffickers or purchasers of human "goods", are rarely brought to justice. The victims usually do not return to their communities to warn others, and in many cases are punished as illegal immigrants by authorities. Increasingly, governments and humanitarian agencies recognise that anti-trafficking measures must be able to cross borders, to bring the trafficked home, protect them and their communities, and seek justice on their behalf against the perpetrators of human trafficking. In 2004, World Vision introduced the Mekong Delta Regional Trafficking Strategy project, a two-year project aimed to reduce the number of persons trafficked for sex work or other forms of exploitative labour within the region. This report provides both an overview of the strategy and its achievements, and a "real time" record of the lessons learned.
Abstract: 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.
Abstract: Cluster munitions have been used in combat in at least 21 countries. Thirty-four
countries are known to produce them and at least 73 countries stockpile them. Worldwide,
stockpiled submunitions number in the billions.
The use of cluster munitions results in civilian death and suffering both during and after
conflict. They are a particularly dangerous weapon type in need of international attention,
in that they have a serious and long-lasting humanitarian and socio-economic impact where
they have been used.
Presented here are brief case studies on cluster submunition contamination in Albania
and the Lao People's Democratic Republic. Together, these studies present a picture of the
short- and long-term humanitarian and socio-economic impact of cluster munition use. The
case of Lao PDR shows the continual harmxe2x80x94even more than thirty years after the factxe2x80x94
caused by large-scale cluster munition use, while the case of Albania illustrates that even
recent, limited cluster munition use can cause harm no less profound.
These case studies demonstrate the devastating impact cluster munitions have on
civilians. They provide additional evidence from the field that stronger action needs to be
taken to reduce the tragedy these munitions bring to lives, livelihoods and societies.
Abstract: Freedom House has prepared this overview report as a companion to our annual survey on the state of global political rights and civil liberties, Freedom in the World. We are publishing this report to assist policymakers, human rights organizations, democracy advocates, and others who are working to advance freedom around the world. We also hope that the report will be useful to the work of the new United Nations Human Rights Council.
The reports are excerpted from Freedom in the World 2006, which surveys the state of freedom in 192 countries and 14 select territories. The ratings and accompanying essays are based on events from December 1, 2004 through November 30, 2005. The 17 countries and 3 territories profiled in this report are drawn from the total of 45 countries and 8 territories that are considered to be Not Free and whose citizens endure systematic and pervasive human rights violations.
Abstract: xe2x80x98Human securityxe2x80x98 is clearly a growing and evolving
concept in the discourse of global security. Over the last decade,
with increasing attention from the political and academic
community, the concept of human security has developed into a
major issue of debate as it transcends the traditional concept of
state security and gives individual security precedence over
Within East Asia, the concept of human security has not
yet been established, and thus has not been considered as a
security concern. East Asia itself is a vast region, stretching from
Korea, Japan and China in the north to Myanmar, Indonesia and
Singapore in the south, including at least fifteen countries where
about 40 per cent of the world population lives. The region as a
whole has experienced many important and fundamental
changes since the 1960s, not only in terms of economic growth
but also in terms of political and social transformation. It is also
the centre of major concerns about human rights abuses, poverty,
refugee problems, human and drug trafficking, HIV/AIDS,
environmental degradation and food insecurity, all of which
increasingly threaten the security and order of East Asia.
Abstract: 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.
Abstract: Le 15 aoxc3xbbt 2005, le Gouvernement indonésien et
le Gerakan Aceh Merdeka (mouvement de libération
d'Aceh) ont signé un mémorandum d'accord
confirmant leur volonté de trouver une solution
pacifique, globale et durable au conflit qui sévit dans
la province de Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam. Il est Ã
espérer que l'application de cet accord permettra le
rapatriement dans la sécurité et la dignité des
habitants de la province qui vivent actuellement Ã
l'étranger, et en particulier en Malaisie, oxc3xb9 quelque
20 000 d'entre eux sont recensés par l'UNHCR.
L'Organisation se tient prxc3xaate Ã venir en aide Ã toutes
les parties concernées, dans la limite de ses responsabilités
et de ses compétences.
Toujours en Indonésie, l'UNHCR a participé Ã l'intervention
interorganisations menée dans la province
de Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam Ã la suite du tremblement
de terre et du tsunami survenus dans l'océan
Indien le 26 décembre 2004. Aprxc3xa8s s'xc3xaatre retiré
d'Aceh Ã la fin de la phase d'urgence, enmars 2005,
l'UNHCR est retourné dans la région en juin 2005,
Ã l'invitation du Gouvernement indonésien. Ses
efforts porteront principalement sur l'aide Ã la
réhabilitation et Ã la reconstruction dans la province
de Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam et sur l'xc3xaele de
Nias, au nord de Sumatra, oxc3xb9 une assistance immédiate
a été fournie Ã quelque 20 000 personnes victimes
du tremblement de terre du 28 mars 2005.
Abstract: 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.