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Journal of International Studies (JIS) Vol. 9, 2013

 

ASEAN’s Problematic Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights: The New Media’s Role in Enhancing the Protection of Human Rights
Robin Ramcharan
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Citizens of ASEAN states appear to be increasingly involved, through Information Communication Technologies (ICTs), in pushing for greater openness and accountability of their political leaders and public institutions. In particular, ICTs afford citizens of ASEAN States and like-minded counterparts around the world in the human rights community to push for greater accountability of ASEAN’s human rights institutions. With the adoption of the ASEAN Charter in 2007, ASEAN states embarked on a process of crafting a regional ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR), eighteen years after the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna, Austria. While the World Conference had reaffirmed the universality of human rights, ASEAN states have moved grudgingly and gradually, egged on by greater global concern for human rights and by the pressures of globalization, towards the protection of human rights. The Terms of Reference (TORs) of the AICHR, adopted in July 2009 and favouring promotion rather than protection of human rights did not provide for an institutionalised role for the media. Subsequent drafting by AICHR of a proposed ASEAN Human Rights Declaration (AHRD) has excluded mainstream news media and civil society organizations (CSOs) from the process. In the absence of reporting and substantive reporting by most mainstream media in the region civil society, most importantly the new ICT based media, has played a vital role in seeking to advance the protection of human rights. This includes scrutiny of the specific rights that will be included in the forthcoming AHRD to ensure that international human rights standards are upheld and that ASEAN states honour their existing commitments under international instruments. The new media-environment provides a platform for a multitude of actors to disseminate human rights related information, to document human rights abuses and thereby enhance the protection of human rights in the region.
 
Keywords: Human rights, new media, journalism, civil society, ASEAN.
 

 
The Right to Development and its Corresponding Obligations on Developing Countries
Ahmad Masum
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
The right to development is a fundamental right, the precondition of liberty, progress, justice and creativity. This right has raised many expectations and controversies over the years. Developing countries claim that the international economic and political order constitutes an obstacle to the enjoyment of the right to development for their citizens. They therefore see a need for action in the international dimension of the right to development. In their view, they are able to provide the necessary basis for the enjoyment of the right to development only if the international order becomes more conducive to the economic development of developing countries. This paper aims to examine the concept of the right to development as a ‘human right’ focusing mainly on the position of developing countries as to whether they have an obligation to work towards the realization and implementation of this right. The paper concludes that the right to development is now recognized as a ‘human right’ like other internationally accepted human rights. Thus, being a right, it entails obligations of some agents in the society, who have the power to deliver the right or adopt policies that have a high likelihood of delivering the right.
 
Keywords: Developing countries, enjoyment, human rights, liberty, right to development.
 

 
Supporting National Transition in Myanmar with Development Assistance
Anthony Ware
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Myanmar is undergoing significant political reforms and socio-political changes, which have been more rapid and broad than anticipated by most commentators. While ongoing reforms face significant obstacles and vested interests, and is far from assured, reform to date has already significantly altered the international relations of the state. From a development perspective, the growing international acceptability of the regime has begun to change donor attitudes, with development assistance rather than merely humanitarian aid now being discussed, and the conditionality attached to international assistance changing. This paper explores these changes in donor policies toward Myanmar, examining the prospects for development partnership with relevant government programs and agencies, and analysing the ways and sectors development assistance may be able to be used to strengthen the ongoing reform and national transition.
 
Keywords: Myanmar, reform, development assistance, conditionality, partnerships.
 

 
Health Diplomacy and Regional Integration in West Africa: The West African Health Organization’s Experience
Benjamin Uchenna Anaemene
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
From the outset the founding fathers of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) recognized the relevance of integration in the social sector based on the conviction that intense cooperation in the economic and political sectors alone will not bring about lasting regional integration. For instance, the ECOWAS treaty of 1975 and revised treaty of 1993 had the promotion of social progress and collaboration in the social field as one of the objectives of the community. Yet scholars have not given it the deserved attention. This paper therefore represents an attempt to assess the extent to which the West African Health Organization (WAHO), a specialized health agency of ECOWAS, has contributed to regional health integration in West Africa. It argues that regional integration and cooperation should not be geared solely towards economic and political purposes. It also examines the achievements as well as the major challenges confronting WAHO. It concludes that regional health integration is no longer an option but an imperative for West African countries to meet their common health challenges.
Keywords: Health diplomacy, regional integration, West African Health Organization (WAHO), development, global health, West Africa.
 

 
Sino-African Relations: Emerging Concerns and Dynamics
Knocks Tapiwa Zengeni
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
The objective of this article is to demonstrate that one of the most significant consequences of the growth of China-Africa relations is the positioning of the African continent as a possible theatre for US-China geo-political rivalry. The interpretative approach adopted in this essay involves a comprehensive review of extant literature, and draws on recent data to highlight China’s economic forays into Africa and the attendant implications. Undeniably, Africa’s strategic minerals are of great value to both competing global powers, that is, the United States and China. Interestingly, China’s presence in Africa has been bolstered by its state-capitalist model which has captivated and convinced most African leaders into believing that this alternative development paradigm might be the answer to Africa’s long quest for economic growth. To many African leaders whose regimes are mainly pseudo-democracies, the Chinese model which delivers economic growth without embracing democracy has become an attractive option vis-à-vis the Western model which is predicated on unpopular conditionalities of good governance and respect for human rights. While the emergence of China in Africa has been welcomed in the continent, it is equally true that some concerns and fears are emerging over the growing presence of China in Africa. Some of these concerns include the reversal of the democratization agenda in some African countries; the unequal trade relations between Africa and China; environmental questions on Chinese investments; and fears of a re-packaged form of new colonialism.More importantly, most African countries are apprehensive about the growing tensions between China and the US over Africa which might lead to a new ‘Scramble for Africa’ and the re-emergence of proxy conflicts on the continent.
 
Keywords: China, Africa, United States, democratisation, trade.
 

 
Supporting National Transition in Myanmar Through Corporate Social Responsibility
Daw Khin-Su-Su-Naing
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
Myanmar is moving rapidly in the direction of a more democratic and economically strong future. However, many challenges remain and constructive change will require the cooperation of the corporate sector. Many foreign businesses are interested in investing in Myanmar as a result of political reforms. The government could take a pivotal role, leading the agenda by setting Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) standards as a tool for social development. This paper explores how CSR could be embedded in government business strategy, how business practice could exceed public expectations, how labour laws could strengthen employee packages and benefits, and how foreign investors could be encouraged to bring CSR expertise to strengthen domestic capabilities. Finally, this paper argues that a CSR code of conduct should be imposed to ensure that business practices are tailored to national economic and social interests, and the form such a code of conduct could take.
 
Keywords: Myanmar, national transition, social reforms, corporate social responsibility.
 

 
Faraizi Movement and Zamindars of Nineteenth Century Bengal: The Story of a Peasant Movement
Nurul Hossein Choudhury
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
The British colonial rule in Bengal had a very ominous impact on the people of the region as a whole. The introduction of a new land tenure system, known as the Permanent Settlement, and the creation of an all-powerful zamindar class particularly affected the interests of the peasants of Bengal. Under the new system, the government demand on the zamindars was fixed in perpetuity, but there was no legal restriction on the zamindars to enhance their share from the peasants. The peasants, consequently, became vulnerable to irregular rent increases and oppressions by the zamindars. The Faraizi movement, organized initially in the nineteenth century to reform the Muslim society, soon assumed the character of agrarian movement. In order to protect the poor peasants, the Faraizis soon became radical and challenged the zamindars. As majority of the peasants of the region, where this movement was launched, were Muslims and their zamindars mostly Hindus, the Faraizis used Islamic symbols to mobilize the Muslim masses. Thus, religion and economy intertwined in shaping such a protest movement in pre-industrial Bengal.
 
Keywords: Peasants, Zamindars, indigo planters, permanent settlement, Haji Shariatallah, Dudu Miyan.
 

 
The Role of the United States and The “Asian Solution” Approach in the Malaysia-Indonesia Confrontation (1963-1966)
Rohani Hj Ab Ghani
Zulhilmi Paidi
 
Abstract Ɩ Full Text
The Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation between 1963-1966 was an important event attracting the attention of politicians and scholars alike as the conflict had threatened the long existing relations between the two countries. Indonesian confrontation with Malaysia was due to its refusal to accept the formation of the new federation of Malaysia, founded on 16th September 1963. Sukarno’s confrontational stand on this had broken the long-standing sentiments of regional brotherhood or “saudara serumpun” that had nurtured between the two countries for many years. The conflict also saw the involvement of major powers like the United States (U.S.), Britain, China and Russia in the midst of bipolar power struggle between the communist and the anti-communist as part of the ongoing Cold War. The three years of confrontation witnessed great attempts at peace efforts by U.S. Although U.S. involvement in the conflict was merely as a moderator for both countries it was also fueled by its efforts of containment of communism in the Southeast Asian region. The U.S. viewed that the conflict should be resolved in the context of “Asian solution” as it involved two Asian countries A settlement to the Malaysia-Indonesia confrontation was finally achieved through the Bangkok Agreement, signed in August 1966. This paper discusses the role of U.S. in its attempts at finding an amicable settle to the confrontation in the form of “Asian solution.”
 
Keywords: Malaysia, Indonesia, Confrontation, United States, Bangkok Treaty.