Economic growth in Southeast Asia has bought jobs and increased state revenues, but also wrought labour rights violations, community dispossession of land and natural resources, and environmental degradation. Carl Middleton argues that economic reform starts with greater Corporate Accountability, including across borders.
Questions are being raised about the complicity of Thailand’s state-run power utility – EGAT under the Ministry of Energy – in serious human rights violations in the building of the massive US$10 billion Mong Ton (formerly called the Tasang) dam in the Upper Salween River in Myanmar.
Cambodia’s garment industry is replete with stories of mistreatment of workers, inadequate wages and exploitation. An all-woman band calling itself “The Messenger Band” compose and perform their own lyrics and music to share personal stories of affected workers and bring people together to end worker exploitation.
From ensuring access to natural resources to protection against exposure to health-damaging pollution, a clean and healthy environment and the fulfillment of human rights cannot be separated. In this Commons Comment, Carl Middleton and Aadi Samarkand argue that while there is a long way to go to in recognizing the right to a healthy environment in Southeast Asia, some windows of opportunity exist.
Sor.Rattanamanee Polkla is a public interest lawyer, and co-founder of the Community Resources Centre based in Bangkok. In this article, she talks with Carl Middleton about how public interest lawyers in Thailand work to enforce and reform the law in the interest of the public, case by case.
The community living around Boeung Kak Lake in Phnom Penh, Cambodia have been fighting eviction by developers who wish to fill up the lake and turn it into a luxury urban development. This article outlines how members of the community took on the powerful World Bank and eventually put a stop to the eviction.
The ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), to be launched in 2015, aims to create a single market and production base. Dorothy Guerrero examines whether this advances socio-economic development in the ASEAN region, or results in damage to people’s general well-being, human rights and environmental security.