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. ...
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....
March 18, 2011 United Nations Mine Action Service // United Nations Development Programme // United Nations Children’s Fund
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....
December 14, 2009 United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime // Central Committee for Drug Abuse Control // Lao National Commission for Drug Control and Supervision
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....
November 26, 2009 Asia-Pacific Centre for the Responsibility to Protect
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....
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....