Democracy & Participation

Articles on Democracy & Participation

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Fifty years is a long time. Memory will play tricks with you after such a time, and I can’t quite remember when it was I first heard of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, ASEAN.

ACSC/APF Mobilization
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The eleven-year experience of engagement with the official ASEAN process has taught civil society movements in Southeast Asia valuable lessons that should guide its future trajectories. Disappointment, rejection, and disillusionment should now be a thing of the past and chalked up to experience. The real challenge facing ACSC/APF today lies from outside and beyond the established ASEAN process. 

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Obtaining ASEAN membership has been one of Timor-Leste’s foreign policy goals since 2002.  This article discusses the current dynamic in Timor-Leste and what it means to be an ASEAN member. This is based on the domestic context that shapes Timor’s interests. Many commentators have taken a position in advocating for Timor’s membership based on short-sighted policies. At the same time, ASEAN continues to argue that Timor "does not have the capacity”. This article goes further by asking how Timor-Leste can benefit from this membership and what the necessary conditions are for Timor to do so.

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The Indonesian case of homophobia (or even some other ASEAN countries) reveals that homosexuality issues are more complex and are more than just moral or immoral debates; they are about national reactions to the rapid transmission of global discourse, the dynamic of movements and counter-movements in democracy, and also the state’s multifaceted representation which place sexuality as a political issue of our contemporary time.

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2017 is a particularly critical year for ASEAN as it celebrates its 50th anniversary; it is timely for the Southeast Asia to prove itself as a region that emphasizes putting ASEAN’s people first. Such recognition of civil society, not as a threat, but as an important ally in ensuring the realisation of human rights for all Asean citizens is critical to the development of a sustainable ASEAN Community.

Publications Democracy & Participation

In the last six decades all over the world autocracies and military dictatorships were overthrown and initial steps toward democracy were taken. But over the years it has be-come clear that the transition from autocracy to democratic rule is difficult and by no means guaranteed. The authoritarian developing state – as an alternative to democracy – has gained massive momentum. Even in its ostensible strongholds democracy is un-der pressure today in many parts of the world. Institutions of democracy assistance like the Heinrich Böll Foundation and pioneers of political freedom have been struggling against a significant headwind for some time now. However, supporting democratic en-gagement worldwide is a core concern of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. Human rights, democracy, and ecology – this triad stands at the center of the Foundation’s interna-tional work. The present publication “For Democracy” outlines and analyzes the state of democracy worldwide as well as the possibilities of democracy assistance. At the same time, the publication provides concrete insights into the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s political work for democracy. In addition, four essays approach the subject democracy assistance in a basic and passionate manner.

Research title: Impact of the Computer-related Crime Act 2007 and State Policies on the Right to Freedom of Expression

The new publication by Sawatree Suksri, Siriphon Kusonsinwut and Orapin Yingyongpathana from iLaw aims to explore implications of the enforcement of the Computer Crime Act (CCA) since it came into force in July 2007 until December 2011 vis-a-vis sate policies as well as public reaction towards he law and its enforcement in comparison to the situation abroad. It includes key findings and recommendations.

Report on Community Radio Intervention under Emergency Decree

The Emergency Decree on Government Administration in States of Emergency has been enforced since April 2010 and a number of community radio stations have been shut down by invoking the law.

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What We Do

Democracy and civic freedoms have come under increasing pressure in Southeast Asia over the past years. Under the pretense of ensuring stability, national security and public order, regional governments continue to severely curtail fundamental political, as well as economic, social and cultural rights of its citizens.  Unregulated investments, facilitated by rent-seeking governments, in particular in the poorer ASEAN-countries, increasingly disenfranchise and deprive local communities of their livelihoods at a large scale.  

In dealing with these trends, the Democracy & Participation Program strongly commits to the promotion of human rights, democratic participation and gender equality. Among others, we support civil society organizations that engage in the protection of freedom of expression, media freedom and digital rights, a particularly important issue in times of increased digital censorship and surveillance by state authorities across the region. As the ongoing ASEAN integration will be essentially defined by the movement of people across borders, the program will also engage in activities related to the rights of refugees and migrants. Overall, the aim of the Democracy & Participation Program is to assist partners and civil society organizations in creating public space for dialogue and open debates as well as developing adequate strategies for their respective advocacy campaigns. This encompasses (I)NGOs, alternative media, think tanks, scholars, youth activists, artists, LGBT and women’s organizations.

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