Fifty Years After Recognition As “People” Australian Aborigines Demand Political Voice

By Kalinga Seneviratne

SYDNEY (IDN) – In 1967, in a historic referendum, some 92 percent of Australians voted for the original inhabitants to be recognized as “people” to be counted in the census.

Exactly 50 years later, over 250 Indigenous Australians met in a historic summit overlooking the sacred Uluru rock in Central Australia May 24-26 and called upon the Australian government to change the constitution to give them a voice in parliament and a treaty to recognize their relationship to the land. Continue reading “Fifty Years After Recognition As “People” Australian Aborigines Demand Political Voice”

Exercising Power Fairly More Important SDG Yardstick than Democratic Accountability

By Kalinga Seneviratne

BANGKOK (IDN) – In its 2017 Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific, the Bangkok-based UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) makes an interesting argument in regards to achieving the Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in seemingly downplaying the importance of democratic accountability and emphasising that how power is exercised is more important. Continue reading “Exercising Power Fairly More Important SDG Yardstick than Democratic Accountability”

Asia needs ‘thinking’ media to avoid ‘Arab Spring’ chaos

April 25, 2017

By Kalinga Seneviratne

Special to The Nation (Thailand)

In December last year two UN agencies – UNDP and Unesco – organised a gathering in Bangkok called “Case 4 Space” where young activist communicators from Asia were brought together and largely addressed by westerners on how to demand space for their voices to be heard.

The event was coordinated by an activist group from the UK called “Restless Development” that was promoting a “restless” type of activism for “democratic” development – the same recipe of the “Arab Spring” uprising that has created chaos and mayhem in the Arab world. 

Attending the event as an observer, I was alarmed by the fact that these two UN agencies were able to organise this event in Asia without being scrutinised by Asian media or the governments in the region. Continue reading “Asia needs ‘thinking’ media to avoid ‘Arab Spring’ chaos”

India’s Yogi Chief Minister May Rewrite Democracy Textbooks

Analysis by Kalinga Seneviratne

NEW DELHI (IDN) – From across Asia to Europe and the United States voters have shown their dismay at corrupt political systems by voting in unconventional politicians who promise to “clean the swamp”.

So the election mid-March of a Yogi Chief Minister in Uttar Pradesh – India’s most populous state – may well herald in a new era for Asian politics, where religion could step in to clean up the corruption in politics. Continue reading “India’s Yogi Chief Minister May Rewrite Democracy Textbooks”

ASEAN Chairman Duterte Pushes For Migrant Protection Treaty

This article is part of IDN’s media project jointly with Global Cooperation Council and DEVNET Japan.

By Kalinga Seneviratne

Bangkok, 26 Feb 2017 (IDN): Philippine’s President Rodrigo Duterte has signaled his intention to push harder for the adoption of a binding regional treaty to protect the human rights of migrant workers during his chairmanship of ASEAN (Association of South east Asian Nations) this year.

Though he is strongly supported by Indonesia’s President Joko Widodo, yet human rights advocates in the region fear that ASEAN’s “consensus” based decision making process may hinder these attempts because Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand may not agree to a binding treaty to protect migrant workers in their countries. Continue reading “ASEAN Chairman Duterte Pushes For Migrant Protection Treaty”

Trump Presidency Might Herald Reality Check On “Liberal” Media

trumpBy Kalinga Seneviratne

BANGKOK (IDN) – Donald Trump calls the so-called ‘liberal media’ the “bad guys” and since he was elected President two months ago – in fact even before that with the Brexit vote in June 2016 – the “Liberals” in the West have been chest-beating complaining about misleading social media messages to unfairness of the electoral systems as their preferred candidates or platforms are defeated by grassroots voter revolts. Continue reading “Trump Presidency Might Herald Reality Check On “Liberal” Media”

Suu Kyi’s Astute Move On Rohingya Issue in Myanmar

Lotus News Analysis by Kalinga Seneviratne

BANGKOK (IDN) – With mounting demonstrations in support of Rohingyas in fellow ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) Muslim majority countries Malaysia and Indonesia, Myanmar’s de-facto leader and Foreign Minister Aung San Suu Kyi made an astute move to summon Foreign Ministers of ASEAN for a one-day “retreat” to Yangoon on December 19 to brief them on the situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine State where most Rohingyas live.

A first of its kind for ASEAN where a member country has summoned ministers to discuss an internal affairs, yet, it demonstrated that Suu Kyi is no hostage to western human rights groups who supported her long campaign to bring “democracy” to Myanmar. Continue reading “Suu Kyi’s Astute Move On Rohingya Issue in Myanmar”