Southeast Asia sits between human rights advocacy and economic development

Labour rights in Malaysia, Myanmar residents return home, Thai activists feel in jail, Timor-Leste risks economic failure, EU-ASEAN trade relations.

December 3, 2022
Southeast Asia sits between human rights advocacy and economic development

Hello Globe readers,

Our features this week narrate Southeast Asian nations’ individual fights for rights while the region engages in international cooperation. As Indonesian domestic workers in Malaysia learn about their labour rights on social media, in Thailand, young student activists are facing the harsh consequences of publicly advocating for royal reforms and democracy. Meanwhile, as an unstable Myanmar sees the return of those citizens who fled after the coup, Timor-Leste needs to rush to find alternative economic revenues to survive. 

Labour laws in Malaysia are particularly unreliable for domestic workers, who don’t have maternity protection, the right to days off, or the right to several other benefits. Liani MK reports how social media has had a crucial role in helping Indonesian domestic workers to learn about their rights. 

While Indonesian workers are just learning about labour rights, Thai students are having their education and professional dreams stifled as they are subjected to electronic monitoring (EM) and could face more than 100 years in jail for speaking up for royal reforms. Globe’s Beatrice Siviero, reports how the enforcement of this instrument in political cases could amount to a human rights violation while sharing the stories of three young activists subjected to EM.

Although human rights violations are on the daily agenda in Myanmar, the country is seeing some citizens return after fleeing the 2021 coup. Jacob Payne writes about those who, despite the risk, decided to go back home.

Timorese people may lose their home they know might if the country doesn’t promptly find alternative economic revenues. Globe’s Beatrice Siviero writes about the fight for survival of Timor-Leste as oil resources are running out.

As its countries tackle rights and economic challenges, the region is increasing trade exchanges with the European Union, looking to achieve shared connectivity goals. Catherine Setiawan analyses the EU-ASEAN past and future cooperation objectives.

That’s all for this week. Hope you enjoy the features. 

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