Military dictatorships are not as common as they were during the Cold War. Today, leaders trying to roll back democracy usually do so in creeping ways, by altering legal systems, voting rules and other institutions to give themselves greater power. And yet coups have not only lingered; they’ve become more effective in the past decade.
Japan’s rivalry with China reinforces Tokyo’s inclination to avert its eyes from human rights abuses, electoral fraud, corruption and suppression of fundamental freedoms. Tokyo is not opposed to liberal democracy but also not prepared to risk anything to support it.
The struggle for racial, political and economic justice in Southeast Asia is a fight for a genuinely postcolonial condition, and its establishment is implied in each protest against authoritarian ambitions. If colonialism made the modern world, then decolonisation will not be complete until the world – including Southeast Asia – is reimagined.
FORSEA Supports Joint Statement on Myanmar by Myanmar National Human Rights Commission and Progressive Voice
People from the whole country who are taking part in peaceful demonstrations are facing violations of their basic human rights. This includes arbitrary arrests and charges, threats, the use of indiscriminate violence such as intentionally shooting into the crowd, beatings, the use of weapons, rubber bullets and water cannons, and restrictions on their freedom of expression.
Same-sex practices in Aceh traditionally were not seen in contradiction with local customs (adat) and religion. It is ironic that in Aceh today, homophobic political and religious officials voice opinions that would be more intelligible to the condescending Dutch colonizers than to Aceh’s elite circles a century ago.
Myanmar has just made headlines with its coup. Thailand and Myanmar are no strangers to coups. For almost a century, Thailand has been locked in a vicious cycle of military coups. Its counterpart in Myanmar, the Tatmadaw, has also been playing king and kingmaker alternately since the late 1950’s.
The abrogation of the UP-DND Accord means that the military and police can now enter UP campuses at will. The academic community now faces the prospect of armed military and police presence and constant surveillance. Schools and universities in the Philippines are under attack by a regime that knows no limits to its brutality and violence.