Authoritarianism in Southeast Asia


Single Panel

Time & Location

Session 11
Fri 13:30–15:00 Fritz-Reuter-Saal



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In the space of 10 years after the entry into force of the ASEAN Charter, the human rights situation in Southeast Asia changed dramatically from one of cautious optimism to something which may fairly be described as desperate. The preamble of the Charter the stated that they were: “Adhering to the principles of democracy, the rule of law, and good governance, respect for and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms”A sense that the region was moving forward in a progressive manner vis a vis human rights was further enhanced by the adoption of the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration in 2012.

Today, the human rights situation in the region is dire. We witness the democratic deficit in different countries raging from flawed elections in Cambodia to the rise of Islamist extremism which is influencing mainstream politics in Indonesia and populism in the Philippines and this not to mention military regime in Thailand.The list continues; but there is one underlying theme and that is the region is becoming more and more authoritarian. Strong government with limited personal freedoms and democratic spaces appear to be the order of the day.

The panel aims to examine this phenomenon by bringing together regional experts to discuss a thorough scrutiny of authoritarianism in Southeast Asia. Each speaker will analyse his/her subject matter within the context of how it is created and affected by an authoritarian regime.