Crossing Borders and Defying Policing, Abuses of Thailand’s Fishing Industry Challenge International System›August 18, 2015 // By Linnea Bennett
Somewhere off the coast of Thailand, “ghost ships” bump and crash along the choppy waves scrapping the sea floor with nets that spare nothing. Pulling up these illegal hauls in shifts that sometimes last 20 hours are thousands of migrant fishermen, many of whom have been forced into indentured servitude or kidnapped. Far from shore on unregistered boats, they have little hope of escape and face daily abuse and squalid conditions. More recently, some captains have turned to trafficking Rohingya fleeing persecution in Myanmar, pressing some into service, extorting others, and taking sex slaves.
›June 26, 2015 // By Wilson Center Staff
In 2011 Thailand was hit by unprecedented monsoon rains far above the average rainfall of the previous 30 years. Two million people across 26 provinces were affected. During the crisis, hundreds of civilians took it to the streets to protest discrimination by the Flood Response Operation Center and the unfair distribution of water, electricity supply, shelter, and food. Civilians were so angry that they broke a sandbag wall in Bangkok which was protecting a wealthy district from water surges. Public unrest and discontent with the government continued until a military coup in 2013.
In 2003, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2005 to 2015 to be the decade of “water for life” as a way to encourage countries to reach their water-related targets under the Millennium Development Goals. In summing up the last 10 years, it was noted that water cooperation had been promoted widely, featuring at international fora and in government initiatives and development agendas. Water cooperation is described as having the potential to enable peace and sustainable development. However, just as focusing on “water wars” might undermine the everyday challenges of securing safe and adequate supplies of water, focusing only on “more cooperation” may well simplify the problem at hand.
On March 30, the government of Myanmar and an umbrella group of 16 ethnic minority groups agreed to a draft agreement for a “nationwide ceasefire” to end decades of conflict in the country’s northern reaches. But even as the latest ceasefire was being made, two armed groups, the Myanmar National Democratic Alliance Army (MNDAA) and the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), were in open conflict with the Burmese military. Fighting in Kokang and Kachin has led to casualties in the triple digits and displaced an estimated 100,000 civilians.
Few would argue with the notion that socioeconomic development is contingent on peace, safety, and security. What goes for nations, goes for people too – especially young people.
›May 16, 2014 // By Wilson Center Staff
As the earth’s surface grows hotter and precipitation becomes more variable due to the impacts of climate change, the world is in need of solutions to more effectively store water supplies. One potential solution is deceptively simple: store water in aquifers below the ground.
›April 28, 2014 // By Elizabeth Leahy Madsen
Democracy is fickle. Many of the competing theories on the best ways to foment and consolidate plural, inclusive governance or predict its rise and fall focus on political and economic forces. Yet a small group of demographers have explored population age structure as a catalyst for and reflection of a host of changes in societies that can affect governance.
›February 20, 2014 // By Wilson Center Staff
In the sleepy northern Thai border town of Huay Luk, a community leader, Pornsawan Boontun, still remembers the day when villagers netted a Mekong giant catfish more than a decade ago. The fish weighed 615 pounds, and it surprised everyone since the elusive species has never been common in this stretch of river.
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