Entries by syukron.subkhi

Bincang ASEAN on Book Discussion | Indonesian Civil Society and Human Rights Advocacy in ASEAN

On Friday, 12th October 2021, ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada held a Bincang ASEAN on Book Discussion. The discussion took place online by Zoom and streamed on ASEAN Studies Center Facebook page at 13.00 GMT. In this Bincang ASEAN, ASC UGM hosts a discussion on the Indonesian Civil Society and Human Rights Advocacy in ASEAN book authored by Dr. Randy W. Nandyatama.

The discussion has invited Dr. Randy W. Nandyatama as the book’s author and senior researcher at ASEAN Studies Center UGM. Furthermore, several academicians and practitioners on human rights advocacy were also invited to enliven the discussion. H. E Yuyun Wahyuningrum as Representative of Indonesia at AICHR and Senior Advisor at HRWG, Assoc. Prof. Anthony J. Langlois as an Associate Professor from College of Business, Government, and Law at Flinders University, and Asst. Prof. Deepak Nair as Assistant Professor of the Political Science National University of Singapore. The discussion was moderated by Yulida Nuraini Santoso as the Managing Director of ASEAN Studies Center UGM.

Dr. Randy W. Nandyatama enlightens up the discussion by starting a presentation in regards to the book. He divided the presentation into four parts: the central puzzle, analytical framework, the book’s main points, and revisiting the institutionalism of Human Rights in ASEAN. In the presentation, Dr. Randy stated that it is essential to increase and push conventional constructivism into something much more critical since the real commitment is for dissecting the myths associated with the norms dynamics. Dr. Randy also has in regards to Indonesian CSOs in the field of ASEAN. Further, Dr. Randy concluded his presentation on the book by revisiting the institutionalism of Human Rights in ASEAN that three unique patterns consist of supportive, critical, and adaptive. These three notable patterns contribute to nuanced normative struggle in Indonesia’s regional human rights issues and the ASEAN human rights institutionalization process.

H.E. Yuyun Wahyuningrum has also stated her opinion regarding the books; she agrees that the books are fascinating. She also indicated her agreement on the ideas of how civil society has helped to engage ASEAN. Perhaps she stated that this condition might be different in reality, and the implementation of human rights norms in ASEAN results from a long debate. Further, Assoc. Prof. Anthony J. Langlois has also stated that this book’s primary goal is to understand the subsequent progress in the institutionalization of human rights on ASEAN. He also agreed that The existing literature does not explain Civil Society Engagement well, so we didn’t have this vibrant idea. Further, he explained that this book is quite interesting in explaining this. Lastly, Asst. Prof. Deepak Nair has also stated his interest in the upbringing topics of this book. He noted that this book provided us with an account of institutionalism from the bottom-up perspectives and actors’ perspectives beyond actors.

The discussion also became more interesting with the Questions and Answers session with participants of this book discussion. The talk was lively as participants were eager to raise questions on the concept of civil society and the context of Indonesia and ASEAN. The discussion then wrapped up with the statement regarding the importance of keeping up the human rights advocacy in Indonesia and ASEAN essentially.

Report by:
– Citta Azarine A. (Median Intern at ASC UGM)

#ASEAN #SoutheastAsia #ASEANStudiesCenter#ASC #UGM #BincangASEAN #BookDiscussion#HumanRights #Advocacy #CivilSociety #CSO


Bincang ASEAN ReaLISM #2 “Reading, Listening, and Investigating ASEAN through Movies”

On Friday, 29th October 2021, ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada held a Bincang ASEAN – ReaLISM #2 “Reading, Learning, and Investigating Southeast Asia through Movies.” In this Bincang ASEAN, ASC UGM hosts a screening of Southeast Asia-related documentaries with Ms. Yulida Nuraini Santoso as the moderator. The event screened a documentary movie, entitled “ Sittwe”

To enliven the discussion, in this event, we invited Jeanne Hallacy, a photographer and documentary filmmaker of the movie, Mr. Irawan Jati, a PhD Candidate in School of Political Science and International Studies, and Thiha Wint Aung, a Senior Program Manager at Forum of Federations.

“Sittwe” is a story about two teenagers from opposing sides of deadly religious and ethnic conflict. The movie provides voice to the youth in a deeply divided society, to create a space for dialogue about reconciliation. Phyu Phyu Than is a Rohingya Muslim girl and Aung San Myint is a Buddhist boy from Myanmar. Both saw their homes burned down during communal violence in 2012. In the discussion, Jeanne Hallacy highlighted the issue of education which is part of human rights and social justice. Mr. Irawan Jati highlighted conflict resolution in the states, in which the current unstable political situation on Myanmar is a sincere narrative of survival. Meanwhile. Lastly, Thiha Wint Aung as the representative of youth from Myanmar in this discussion, he explained the history of the conflict, how the conflict could have occurred and how is the current condition of Myanmar. The discussion about the movie “Sittwe” became more interesting with a Q&A session with the participants of this event.

The discussion was concluded with the importance of understanding conflict, in which the dissemination of information plays an important role because information can be engineered and can lead to its perpetuation.

Paths to Youth Empowerment: Activism, Education, and Mobility

On Wednesday, 7 July 2021, ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada held a Webinar Series titled “Paths to Youth Empowerment: Activism, Edu cation, and Mobility” which was led by Martin Alistair, Program and Research Intern at ASEAN Studies Center UGM. The discussion highlighted how the youth especially in Southeast Asia has roles in several aspects in building a better future in the region.

The first speaker is Ili Nadiah Dzulfakar, she is a Chairperson in KLIMA Action Malaysia (KAMY). One of the main points of Nadiah’s presentation was the importance of including a diverse set of voices in the fight against climate change. She also mentioned that since COVID started, Klima Action Malaysia has focused on coalition building with other groups that represent these voices and have mobilized youth to provide COVID aid to indigenous communities across Malaysia.

The second speaker is Calvin Wee, he is the Co-Founder of The Young SEAkers. Calvin discussed how the history of ASEAN’s formation causes unique challenges in the development of a common ASEAN identity, particularly due to the diversity of culture, development, and history of countries in ASEAN. He explained how the common ASEAN identity is important for ASEAN to adjust to the world order, and cope with unique challenges that have arisen due to globalization. He argued that youth collaboration, cultural understanding, and friendships across ASEAN are critical to the formation of this common identity.

This webinar was organized by the Research and Program Interns at ASEAN Studies Center UGM from HKU College, Mueller Kieta Grace and Martin Alistair.

#ASC #UGM #ASEAN #BringingASEANclosertoyou #Youthempowerment #WebinarSeries #BincangASEAN #KlimaActionMalaysia #ASEANSEAkers #ayiep

The 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits | “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”

The 38th and 39th ASEAN Summits were held on 26th – 28th October 2021, under the chairmanship of Brunei Darussalam. The Summits were chaired by Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam, His Majesty Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah. The summits raised the theme of “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper” in accordance to the theme of Brunei Darussalam Chairmanship on ASEAN this year. The summits aims to maintain the dialogue among ASEAN Member States and focuses on harnessing the caring nature of ASEAN to build a harmonious and resilient Community with the people at its centre; ensuring that ASEAN remains relevant through preparing and adapting for the future where its peoples can seize new opportunities, as well as overcoming existing and future challenges; and creating opportunities for people to benefit through initiatives that enhance the sustainable prosperity of the region. (Chairman’s Statement of the 38th and 39th ASEAN summits)

The 38th ASEAN Summit discussed three main agendas on the ASEAN’s vision and program development which are ASEAN’s work in realising ASEAN Community Vision 2025 and addressing the Covid-19 pandemic; The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP); and an Inclusive and Sustainable Recovery. The dialogue highlighted several important points on vaccine distribution among ASEAN Member States to ensure the equitable of the vaccine access and the importance of the cooperation among the states. It also emphasized the importance of expediting the ratification process of RCEP to its entry by 2022, and the digital transformation on economic affairs to support the sustainable and inclusive regional recovery.

During the 39th ASEAN Summit, the dialogue highlighted the ASEAN position and dialogue with its external partners. ASEAN still upholds its principle of Centrality and unity between its member states and the external partners to address the common challenges the region faces. During this Summit, ASEAN also welcomed the United Kingdom as the first new dialogue partner of ASEAN since China and the Russian Federation in 1996. With UK as a new dialogue partner after 25 years, ASEAN is currently engaged with 11 dialogue partners.

Beside the 38th and 39th Summits which were held during the same occasion this year, ASEAN also held several meetings with dialogue partners namely the 24th ASEAN-China Summit, and 22nd ASEAN-Republic of Korea Summit. The Summits between ASEAN and dialogue partners discussed various topics, namely sustainable recovery in economic development, vaccine distribution and procurement for the ASEAN member states,  capacity building and ICT digital transformation on economy, e-commerce, green growth, public health, and access on education.

Due to the recent developments, Myanmar was not invited to the meetings.


Report by:

Syukron Subkhi
Media and Publication Officer at ASEAN Studies Center UGM

Ambassadorial Lecture | ASEAN-Chile Outlook: Current Initiatives and Way Forward

On Friday, 8th October 2021, the ASEAN Studies Center held an Ambassadorial Lecture on ASEAN-Chile Outlook: Current Initiatives and Way Forward. The lecture takes place online by streaming on ASEAN Studies Center UGM Youtube channel. The lecture session was delivered by H.E. Amb. Gustavo Ayares, the Ambassador of Chile to ASEAN and Indonesia, accompanied by Dr. Dafri Agussalim M.A as the moderator.

The lecture highlighted several issues in the areas of Chile-ASEAN relations. H.E. Amb. Gustavo Ayares started his presentation by explaining Chile’s general scope and policy and underlined the possibilities for future Chile-ASEAN. It is discussed how Chile is growing as an open and connected business environment country. Moreover, the discussion has also highlighted how Chile has become the 1st Latin country to become the partner of ASEAN. Ambassador also mentioned that Chile continues to collaborate with ASEAN to fulfill the four pillars: social, economic, political, and identifying areas to work in good governance through the transparency experiences in Chile. H.E. Amb. Gustavo Ayares also highlighted current projects and opportunities to strengthen the relations between Chile and ASEAN.

The lecture was followed by a Questions and Answers session by the participants. The talk was lively as participants were eager to raise questions on compelling topics regarding Chile-ASEAN relations. Among them were questions on the future initiatives and development to be exchanged between Chile-ASEAN.

In closing, the ASEAN-Chile Outlook Ambassadorial Lecture, H.E. Amb. Gustavo Ayres concluded that ASEAN-Chile relations need to be strengthened in the future. Ambassador also hoped that more ASEAN citizens could experience travel to Chile since it may increase their bounds. The ambassadorial lecture was then followed by an exchange of tokens of appreciation from the ASEAN Studies Center UGM and Chile.

Report by Citta Azarine Azhar (Media Intern at ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada)

Fighting Climate Change: A New Challenge for ASEAN Multilateralism

The Unique Challenges and Impacts of Climate Change on the ASEAN Member States 

Although climate change poses risks for populations globally, mitigating climate change is particularly crucial for Southeast Asian nations. Unfortunately, there are many reasons why Southeast Asia is uniquely vulnerable to the impending impacts of climate change.  Southeast Asian states have a high proportion of the population living in coastal areas vulnerable to rising sea levels. Additionally, the economy is uniquely dependent on natural resources like the agricultural and forestry sectors, which are greatly threatened by climate change (Asian Development Bank, 2009). The region also has a heightened level of biodiversity (three of the world’s designated “mega-diverse” countries are in ASEAN) (Megadiverse Countries, 2020), the preservation of which is crucial to the health of the environment in general as well as the agricultural sector. In fact, according to the Global Climate Risk Index (2018), four of the ten countries in the world most vulnerable to climate impacts are in the region (Myanmar, the Philippines, Thailand, and Vietnam). 

Such circumstances raise the potential for direct harmful impacts. The costs of damages, responsive measures to environmental changes, and threats to the agricultural sector are projected to cost up to 11% of GDP by the year 2100 by the Asian Development Bank (Asian Development Bank, 2015). This is especially problematic since many other nations of the world are not projected to lose as much GDP, which can cause a gap in development between Southeast Asia and other regions. Additionally, agricultural sector degradation will also reduce the yield of crops (particularly rice) and pose new food security challenges to the region (Asian Development Bank, 2009). The large coastal population will cause mass human migration and require extreme adaptive measures in coastal areas. Finally, climate change will likely increase the likelihood of natural catastrophes and health crises, which will cost many lives. 

The Current State of Climate Policy and Mitigation Strategies 

In general, ASEAN and the national governments of its member states can focus on two types of climate strategies: adaptation and mitigation. Adaptation aims to respond to or prevent the specific environmental impacts of climate change. Mitigation involves a big picture approach and aims to reduce the threat of these impacts by cutting emissions and halting the global process of climate change itself. Adaptation is a suitable policy strategy for national governments in ASEAN, as this strategy relies less on collective action. ASEAN has also created various working groups to facilitate collaboration and knowledge exchange regarding adaptation strategies where national governments struggle. The scope of these groups is quite comprehensive, including groups on environmentally sustainable cities (AWGESC), water resources management (AWGWRM), chemicals and waste (AWGCW), coastal and marine environment (AWGCME), environmental education (AWGEE), and natural resources and diversity (AWGNCB). There is also an ASEAN working group on climate change (AWGCC). However, this will be revisited in greater detail later. Overall, the ASEAN nations (with the help of regional collaboration) seem more suited to implement adaptation strategies than mitigation strategies. 

Mitigation strategies are a more complicated issue since reducing GHG emissions is a global imperative requiring international collaboration. The main policy is that Southeast Asian nations have committed to the UNFCCC Paris Agreement and have consequently submitted NDCs (nationally determined contributions). These NDCs commit the nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions by transitions to clean energy. Regarding meeting these NDCs, Southeast Asian nations are relatively unique in fighting a mitigation battle on two different fronts. In 2000, 75% of GHG emissions from the region resulted from deforestation and land use (Asian Development Bank, 2009). Currently, around 55% of the region’s emissions are the result of land use and deforestation (Sok et al., 2020), while the other major source of emissions is the more commonly conceived source of emissions: the energy and transportation sectors (agriculture and other sectors trail further behind). This is projected to change further: Southeast Asia’s coal demand is expected to rise as electricity demand increases due to population growth and transit demands over the next century (International Energy Agency, 2019). Therefore, ASEAN member states’ mitigation strategies need to focus on the transformation of the energy sector and reducing deforestation impacts. 

Southeast Asia’s unique challenges to meeting NDC targets shows most prominently when looking at the NDC targets updated in 2020. So far, NDC targets in the region are modest when considering the goals of the Paris Agreement. Currently, Singapore is the only nation to set a target where GHG emissions will peak, and the target for this achievement is after 2030 (Overland et al., 2020Seah & Martinus, 2021). This makes Singapore the only member state with a long-term low emissions plan so far (Seah & Martinus, 2021). Additionally, the targets set by the current NDCs appear as if they may not even be met due to offset by the region’s growing energy demand (Overland et al., 2020). Overall, ASEAN seems to be less prepared for climate change mitigation, which is concerning due to the heightened risk of impacts in the region. 

Suggestions for Multilateral Cooperation in Mitigation Strategies 

Whether ASEAN nations are doing enough on the mitigation front beings forth a paradox: ASEAN itself is not a major source of emissions globally, and the region’s highest emitting country, Indonesia, is only the 10th most emitting country (UCSUSA, 2020). Still, Southeast Asia has more to lose than other nations if mitigation efforts fall short globally. So it needs to prioritize making a large commitment to global mitigation efforts. So far, the primary policy to achieve this (the NDCs) doesn’t appear to be very promising. 

What can be done about this? One possible solution would be to reassess ASEAN’s efforts to collaborate on reducing emissions. As mentioned before, the primary ASEAN body that does this is the ASEAN Working Group on Climate Change (AWGCC) (Seah & Martinus, 2021). However, like the other working groups, the AWGCC serves as a collaborative platform that prioritizes its Action Plan (Seah & Martinus, 2021). This Action Plan’s section on mitigation primarily focuses on knowledge exchange, promoting collaboration (vaguely), and exploring the possibility of a cap-and-trade system. It doesn’t mention direct ways to increase the NDC targets (ASEAN Cooperation on Environment, 2021). This leaves ample opportunities for improvement, and ASEAN may benefit from a much more proactive coordinating body to face climate change since states need encouragement to raise these targets. 

A more proactive coordinating body could do multiple things, such as increasing green financing in the member states to fund energy transition, therefore opening the opportunity to strengthen the NDC targets. The current action plan relies on external climate funds for financing, but coordinating an ASEAN-specific fund or bank may encourage more investments from the private sector of ASEAN nations that feel they have more a stake in regional mitigation efforts and encourage public and private collaborative investment.  Additionally, a unified ASEAN body on climate could potentially strengthen ASEAN’s dialogue capabilities and represent its grave interest in mitigation policy on the world stage. At the end of the day, ASEAN’s paradoxically small GHG emissions compared to its enormous interest in mitigation requires it to be a loud voice and exemplar in mitigation efforts worldwide. The place to start with this is with more multilateral cooperation and visibility. 




About Writer 

  • Kieta Mueller is an undergraduate Political Science and Economics student from the University of Hong Kong and the University of California, Berkeley. She is currently also an intern at ASEAN Studies Centre UGM. She can be contacted at kieta@connect.hku.hk. 

Robbery and Piracy in SEA (South-East Asia): Protecting the Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOC)

The maritime element widely connected our world. Two-third of the Earth’s surface is covered by sea and ocean. Sea is not only providing huge natural resources which can be explored and exploited but also has a big geopolitical potential to support the distribution and trade between countries and continents. In the current globalized economy, where sea transportation has been so far modernized, the international trading system still uses 90% of the exchanges by using sea transportation (Sciascia: 2016). 

Herve Coutau-Begarie (2007) mentioned that the maritime domain has to be considered toward the frame called the “Maritime Triad”. The term was introduced to better understand the classification of the maritime domain, which is classified into three kinds of maritime space. (1) Maritime domain as a space of communication, there could be seen the international trade exchange that still uses the sea transportation, and according to TeleGeography, there is a fact that by more than 99% of international communications by the internet are carried and connected over fiber optic cables under the sea; (2) Maritime domain as a space of resources, the oceans have enormous reserves of energy and natural resources. Not only gas and oil, but the oceans are also a potential energy and renewable resource with a large number of minerals, fisheries, and many unexplored resources; (3) Maritime domain as a space for projection of power, the history shows that the sea has been the field of many wars in the past between countries, this proves how important the sea is for a country as one aspect that can be determined as a power.  

The maritime domain can be defined as the surface of Earth covered by sea and littoral areas, and geographically speaking, a “space”. In this specific “multidimensional space” that has been considered a frontier for centuries, human interactions occur, which makes the protection and securitization of the maritime domain a necessity (Parrain: 2012). By it means, the maritime domain is subjected to several violence and threats in its development which could be determined, including but not limited to piracy and armed robbery in the sea. According to the Wikidiff, piracy is the hyponym of the (nautical) robbery at sea, an act of a violation against international law and taking a ship away from the control of those legally entitled to it. But the different meanings of piracy and robbery could be determined based on UNCLOS III Article 101, in which piracy is defined as any illegal acts of violence which occur on high seas and beyond the jurisdiction of any state. Meanwhile, according to Regional Cooperation Agreement on Combating Piracy and Armed Robbery against Ships in Asia (ReCAAP) Article 1, armed robbery against ships is defined as any illegal acts of violence in a place within the contracting party’s jurisdiction over such offenses. By the risks and threats against the maritime domain, maritime security evolved where the Sea Lanes of Communication (SLOC) is the most important or vital object to be protected.  

Protecting the SEA’s Sea 

According to Barry Buzan (1991), security in the maritime domain is a major stake for humanity. Moreover, in a world where the concept of security has deeply evolved since the end of the cold war. The threats and risks could also be determined on two conceptions: (1) Traditional threats, traditional maritime security threats in South-East Asia, are preeminent regarding the long history of territorial disputes in the area. Issues related to sovereignty, sovereign rights, and border governance are widely spread. They might threaten the stable situation in the region if not addressed in a good manner by the involved parties, in this case, the concerned states (Sciascia: 2016). Besides, other states excluded in the South-East Asia Region may interfere with the situation and escalated the conflict, such as China with their interest in the South China Sea, where most of the area is located in the South-East Asia Region. (2) Non-traditional threats, different from traditional threats, non-traditional threats cover many aspects of threats and risks. This threat covers more issues to be concerned not limited to a conflict between states, but also non-state actors involved in terrorism, piracy, robbery, illegal fishing, slavery, environmental issues, etc. This article will mainly discuss the conception of non-traditional threats in piracy and armed robbery in South-East Asia, especially amid the world-spread Covid-19 pandemic. 

Maritime Security Challenges in Southeast Asia: Analysis of International and Regional Legal Frameworks | Semantic Scholar

Picture: www.semanticscholar.org

South-East Asia is strategically located at the crossing of the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea and between two continents Australia and Asia. South-East Asia, as we know, have two countries, Indonesia and The Philippines that are archipelagic, Myanmar that adjacent directly to the Indian Ocean, Singapore, and Malaysia is located at the crossroads between the Malacca Strait and the South China Sea, then Vietnam and Brunei Darussalam are adjacent to the South China Sea. The region is home of importance oceans, seas, and straits that formed one of the busiest international Sea Lanes of Communications (SLOCs). Those facts above make the international trade between countries by the sea transportation revolving frequently in this region. 

Since the 1990s, South-East Asia has been considered the target area where piracy and armed robbery conduct against international law. Indonesia, Thailand, Singapore, and Malaysia have initiated the joint patrol program in Malacca Straits, namely Malacca Straits Patrol, to tackle piracy in South-East Asia. Nevertheless, according to safety4sea.com, new types of crimes may have occurred. High-value tankers can be targets if cybercriminals receive information from company servers or ship officials are complicit and give up information to pirates about the ship’s position or the cargo on board. On a side note, insurance fraud is common, with vessels submitting fake reports of attacks to get insurance pay-outs. 

According to the European Institute of Asian Studies, a number of the piracy and robbery activity in Southeast Asia has traditionally been concentrated around the vitally important Strait of Malacca shipping artery. The impact of the 2004 tsunami (which destroyed many pirate hideouts and small vessels in the area), along with effective counter-piracy measures undertaken in the Strait since 2005, has shifted the focus of these activities towards the coasts of Singapore and Malaysia, and in particular to other sections of the traditionally risky Indonesian waters.  

Until now, piracy and robbery activities in the Southeast Asia Region have not been properly resolved by countries involved in the protection of the sea lanes of communication. In 2020, following the Covid-19 pandemic that affects the development of further economic in South-East Asia into desperation, the number of piracy and armed robbery at sea cases in the Singapore Strait hit its highest mark in half a decade, with its 34 incidents forming the bulk of cases in Asia’s waters in the year. Based on the article in the Critical Maritime Routes Programme, as a matter of facts, highlighted by ReCAAP ISC Executive Director Masafumi Kuroki at the 12th Nautical Forum on 15 January 2021, there was a significant increase in ‘actual incidents’ of piracy last year (+17% compared to 2019) in South-East Asia. The most worrisome aspect of this development is that incidents have increased in various locations, such as Bangladesh, India, the Philippines, Viet Nam, the South China Sea, and the Singapore Strait. The broad range of these locations is emblematic of the regional scope of the problem.   

In a pandemic situation that spreads worldwide, communication and distribution of humanitarian and logistical assistance from one country to another for handling the virus outbreaks also enliven international sea trade routes. Moreover, following the economic crises caused by the pandemic raises social symptoms, increasing the criminality rate. The SLOCs are inseparable from this situation, the crime rate caused by the high unemployment rate, forcing coastal communities to turn to crime as a means to fund themselves and their families. Some of the funds to conduct patrols in marine areas prone to piracy and robbery are being cut to overcome the pandemic. This is a dilemma that must be wisely decided and determined by the government. 

The situation on protecting and securing the SLOCs in South-East Asia concerned the states in the region and states that conduct the international trade exchanges by sea transportation through South-East Asia. For instance, the European Union eek more active involvement in activities ensuring smooth trade and securitization of the SLOCs. According to the Critical Maritime Routes Programme, the current EU-ASEAN Plan of Action reaffirms the importance of strengthened cooperation on maritime security issues, such as in combatting sea piracy, armed robbery against ships, as well as encouraging cooperation to address the maritime-related problems comprehensively. In 2003, the Proliferation Security Initiative (PSI), which was proposed and sponsored by the United States to help the securitization of the SLOCs in South-East Asia, was rejected by Indonesia. The initiative was argued that it might interfere with the state’s sovereignty and potentially threaten Indonesian security (Sciascia: 2016). 

So, what is the best way to overcome this issue and wisely protect the SLOCs, while the pandemic situation must end? Combating piracy is consequently a difficult herculean task. Beyond the joint patrol system to the prone sea areas of piracy and robbery, it requires the implication of wise and strong policy by the government. The cooperation and coordination include but are not limited to the states in the region, the external actors (states outside the region), even if it is possible to involve the international organization to promote communication and information exchanges to guarantee security and freedom of shipping overseas. The international coordination mechanism should be conducted properly and avoid the intervention to areas that could increase the tension and escalate the conflict between actors. The cooperation between the actors and stakeholders does not mean and need the same role and responsibilities in the securitization of the maritime domain, or specifically the SLOCs. Every actor and stakeholder have their respective portions and roles in achieving the goal of the securitizations. 



  • Sciascia, Alban, “Securing Ports and Se Lanes of Communication: A Herculian Task”, Penerbit Aswaja Pressindo, Yogyakarta, 2016 
  • Coutau-Begarrie, Herve, “The Globalized Ocean: Geopolitic of Seas in the 21st Century), Economica, 2007. 
  • Parrain, Camille, “High Sea: A Space at the Frontier of Geographic Research), EchoGeo, 2012, no. 19 
  • Buzan, Barry, “People State and Fear: An Agenda for International Security Studies in the Post Cold War Era”, ECPR, 2007(first edition 1991) 
  • Hribernik, Miha, “Countering Maritime Piracy and  Robbery in Southeast Asia: The Role of the ReCAAP Agreement” European Institute of Asian Studies, Briefing Paper 2013/2 
  • “Piracy and armed robbery at sea in Southeast Asia: the long-lasting legacy of COVID-19”, 2 February 2021, https://criticalmaritimeroutes.eu/2021/02/02/piracy-and-armed-robbery-at-sea-in-southeast-asia-the-long-lasting-legacy-of-covid-19/  

About Writer

  • Syukron Subkhi is a Media Publication Officer at ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada. He holds the bachelor’s degree of Social Sciences majors in International Relations with particular focuses on International Organizations, Socio-CulturalSecurity and Development Studies. 

The Youth Resistance Towards Myanmar’s Military Coup: Efforts of Young Generation Protest Through Art

What is Happening in Myanmar? 

On the 1st of February, Myanmar’s military forces enacted a state of emergency and began a coup d’état. This circumstance occurred because they claimed that the November 2020 general election results were null and void, stating it was “election fraud”. However, according to the board of elections, there is no supporting evidence to back up these allegations. The military also declares its intention to hold a new election once the year-long state of emergency is lifted. This coup took place a day before Myanmar’s Government was scheduled to swear the oath of members elected in last year’s election, preventing this from happening. Following the detainment of President Win Myint and the State’s Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, along with several executive members of the current National League for Democracy (NLD). 

 Myanmar, also known as Burma, has been afflicted by political turmoil since gaining independence in 1948. During the country’s current state, a human rights organization in Myanmar is urging the United Nations to place an embargo on the Southeast Asian country to prevent its military from using weapons towards civilians. The Burma Human Rights Network (BHRN) issued a statement saying, “The international community must strongly sanction military officials and military-owned organizations and enforce a global arms embargo.” However, the international institutions considered the coup a part of Myanmar’s internal conflict and constitutional crisis, which resulted in the ending of civil government and the imposition of the military regime. Nevertheless, the coup has sparked many demonstrations and civil protest attempts in various parts of Myanmar. Efforts of resistance have also been initiated, particularly by the young generations of Burma, to express their outrage addressed to the authoritarian military regime. 

The Youth Strikes Back 

The Myanmar military’s atrocities began with the shooting of a young woman during a public protest rally. After being shot in the head, Mya Thwe Thwe Khaing became the first protester to die in Myanmar’s anti-coup demonstrations. She is the first martyr in Myanmar’s civil disobedience movement, spreading throughout the nation until now. According to rights organizations, her wound was consistent with one caused by direct ammunition. As the picture of the protester being cradled after being shot went viral, her death has caused even more outrage against the authorities. Her image has been painted and hung on massive posters from overpasses in Yangon, becoming one of the signature motifs of an already visually rich and creative protest movement. 

Following the incident, young artists across Burma are using their talents to spread the word of the resistance Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) while facing internet outages, strong military presence, and nighttime raids and arrests. “Art is not only a tool against the government but also a record to reflect on the current situation,” said the Yangon-based artist to Artnet News, Khin Zaw Latt. For instance, members of the Myanmar Cartoonists Association marched through the streets of Yangon, carrying cutouts of animated characters and making political cartoons condemning the military’s actions. 

Meanwhile, the Association of Myanmar Contemporary Art held an art-making protest in Yangon in favor of CDM, as well as a group photography project portraying people making the three-finger tribute in opposition to the coup. The hand gesture has become a symbol of resistance, both among crowds of protesters and in artworks influenced by the movement in regards to Suzanne Collins’ dystopian young adult series “The Hunger Games,” which is about a revolt against an oppressive government. Moreover, artist Khin Zaw Latt arranged a collaborative artwork with 120 creators who submitted their interpretation of the salute. The collaborative mural is dotted with ECG heartbeat lines to complete the sense of humanity and the longing for the freedom of life. 

Leadership in Times of Crisis Communication: The Youth Resistance Towards Myanmar's Military Coup Halaman all - Kompasiana.com

A collection of paintings by Khin Zaw Latt supporting Myanmar’s Civil Disobedience Movement. Photo courtesy belongs to the artist. 

To put a stop to the demonstrations and to spread awareness, the government imposed a nationwide internet blackout and declared martial law, which made gatherings of more than five people illegal. However, the abundance of graphics and other artworks in the Southeast Asian nation demonstrates that protest is still alive and well. On the Art for Freedom (Myanmar) website page (artforfreedommm.com), artists collaboratively present their creations, including hundreds of downloadable protest artworks. Many of the paintings are red, portraying the color of Aung San Suu Kyi’s political party. At the same time, others depict Burmese people banging pots and pans in a loud protest against the coup, which is culturally used to keep out the demon. Both of them show a willingness to re-establish democracy. 

Through artworks, prints, and rallies, the youth of Burma also deliver their message on various social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook. Soup Not coup, a new account on Twitter where the writer expressed their insults and witticisms are laced with sharp insights into life in Myanmar, is also part of the anti-military alliance. “These little green men (coup leaders) are so steeped in their tea that they think they are the best flavor, but a dictatorship is not what we ordered,” the group said on Twitter to Nikkei Asia. Nobel Aung was pleasantly surprised by the outpouring of creativity that has flooded Myanmar’s streets as well as social media feeds. He and his younger brother started a private Facebook group called Art for Freedom (Myanmar) on the 4th of February to bring artists and protesters together. In only ten days, the organization grew to 6,000 people, and it now has a website where artwork can be downloaded for free as long as it is utilized to oppose the coup. 

These efforts initiated by the youngsters of Burma surely made a significant impact on spreading awareness of the military’s ruthless regime. Through these cultural movements, young artists and writers have expressed themselves in various art forms freely. Resulting in mass engagements and encouragements for others to do the same, fight for their freedom and strive for justice in Myanmar. 



Head, J., 2021. Myanmar coup: Woman shot during anti-coup protests dies. [online] BBC News. Available at: <https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-56122369> [Accessed 12 March 2021]. 

Jiang, E., 2021. Woman shot protesting Myanmar military takeover dies. [online] Mail Online. Available at: <https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9277337/Woman-shot-week-Myanmar-protest-dies.html> [Accessed 12 March 2021]. 

Win, T., 2021. Young, creative and angry: Myanmar’s youth pushes back. [online] Nikkei Asia. Available at: <https://asia.nikkei.com/Life-Arts/Young-creative-and-angry-Myanmar-s-youth-pushes-back> [Accessed 12 March 2021]. 

Cuddy, A., 2021. Myanmar coup: What is happening and why?. [online] BBC News. Available at: <https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-55902070> [Accessed 12 March 2021]. 

Turan, R. and Kartal, A., 2021. Activists call for sanctions in wake of Myanmar coup. [online] Aa.com.tr. Available at: <https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/activists-calls-for-sanctions-in-wake-of-myanmar-coup/2156648> [Accessed 12 March 2021]. 

Cascone, S., 2021. After a Military Coup, Artists Across Myanmar Are Making Protest Art to Share Their Struggle for Democracy With the World—See Images Here. [online] Artnet News. Available at: <https://news.artnet.com/art-world/myanmar-artists-protest-coup-1943543> [Accessed 12 March 2021]. 

Tan, Y., 2021. Myanmar coup: How citizens are protesting through art. [online] BBC News. Available at: <https://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-55930799> [Accessed 12 March 2021]. 

Beech, H., 2021. Paint, Poems and Protest Anthems: Myanmar’s Coup Inspires the Art of Defiance. [online] Nytimes.com. Available at: <https://www.nytimes.com/2021/02/17/world/asia/myanmar-coup-protest-art.html> [Accessed 12 March 2021]. 

Hayes, S., 2021. How Myanmar’s Creatives Are Fighting Military Rule with Art. [online] Time. Available at: <https://time.com/5938674/myanmar-protest-digital-crackdown/> [Accessed 12 March 2021]. 

Mitman, T. (2018). The art of defiance: Graffiti, politics and the reimagined city in Philadelphia. Intellect Books. 


About Writer

  • Berliana Azka Afina is a Research Lead on ASEAN Socio-Cultural Community at UGM ASEAN Society 

Webinar Center for Southeast Asian Studies | Economic Integration in ASEAN and East Asia: Trends and Prospects post Covid-19

The international webinar titled Economic Integration in ASEAN and East Asia: Trends and Prospects post Covid-19” commenced on Thursday, 23 September 2021, and was arranged by the Center for Southeast Asian Studies (CSEAS). The webinar invited six speakers from several backgrounds and expertise to discuss economic trends and prospects of economic integration in ASEAN and in East Asia. The webinar also covered the progress of Green Economy and Regional Digital Economic post-Covid-19. The webinar was opened by the opening remarks from Steve Chen (Taipei Economic and Trade Office) and moderated by Arisman from CSEAS. The ASEAN Studies Center was invited to join the discussion, represented by Tunggul Wicaksono (Research Manager, ASC UGM).

The first speaker, Dr Aladdin Rillo (Senior Economic Advisor, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia), presented supply chain resilience to support the connectivity trade among states. The resilience itself is being emerged by the unique characteristics such as; mostly private sector endeavours, diverse production sources, and coordination of interested parties. The findings show that the pandemic so far did not disrupt the production flow in the East Asia region. Bigger private sector dynamism, in which companies in the region can perform well and achieve a positive outlook. Moreover, the utilization of digital technology is very helpful to mitigate the harmful impacts of the pandemic. There are ways forward to enhance and sustain the supply chain in the longer term; work together with the private sector to identify the origin of supply and alternative sources, scaling-up digital acceleration to strengthen the circularity of the supply chain, and build stronger supply networks to enhance the sustainability and efficiency in production.

The second speaker, Dr Amalia Adininggar Widyasanti (Deputy Minister for Economic Affairs, Ministry of National Development Planning/Bappenas, Republic of Indonesia), explained the recovery gap resulting from Covid-19 on global integration affecting global value chains in the region. Dr Amalia also mentioned the ASEAN’s role in supporting the trade flow. In this sense, the role of labor market policy is essential to be the key driver of technological progress and productivity growth. East Asia is one of the most significant import sources for ASEAN, and ASEAN itself is the top three exporters in Asia. There are opportunities to enhance the collaboration between two regions related to the manufacturing sector, labor-intensive industry, and technology.

The third speaker, Dr Jayant Menon (ISEAS Yusof Ishak Singapore), addressed the impact and adjustment of ASEAN’s economic impact and how to adjust to the new normal related to digital disruption and divergent demographics. The pandemic, in a way, reinforcing the trends that are undermining globalization in the form of nationalism sentiment and protectionism (sometimes referred to as rebalancing, reshoring, resilience). The geopolitical issues involved need to be addressed by the implementation of regional agreements such as AEC, RCEP, and CPTPP. The presentation concluded with the proposal to overcome the issues by starting planning to open borders, improving the digital economy that may increase inclusivity, and enhancing trade liberalization through the regional arrangement.

The fourth speaker, Prof Raldi Hendro Koestoer from Coordinating Ministry of Economic Affairs, Republic of Indonesia, presented circular economy in Indonesia. Online-based services are supporting the path to economic recovery in Indonesia. He concluded that the government must provide a secure guideline in financial regulation to support the strategic initiative.

The fifth speaker, Dr Roy Chun Lee (Associate Research Fellow, Director, The Economic Law Research Center, Taiwan), presented the topic of economic rivalry in the global supply chain and regional integration. The world in 2021 is challenged by multiple key dimensions of change, including the elevating relationship, reconfiguration of the supply chain, green security, and uncertainty of supply chain reform among the states. Moreover, deep integration issues include human capacity, STEM capacity, cross-border finance, and digital transformation.

The last speaker, Dr Cyn-Young Park (Director of Regional Cooperation and Integration Division Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, Asian Development Bank), presented Asia’s financial integration that is in the downturn during the pandemic even though over the past few decades, there has been a gradual increase in regional cooperation. Concerning trade, supply chain, and investment for post-Covid-19, there is momentum in implementing non-tariff measures while at the same time limiting the trade barriers. Another way is to embrace the evolution of digital trade, which is comprised of online support and e-commerce. Therefore, there is an urgency to enhance the affordability and access of ICT, improve logistics and delivery infrastructure, intensify the regional effort in regulation, broaden the e-payment availability, and institute legal and regulatory reforms.

To sum up the discussion, there is a possibility for ASEAN to address the issue of sustainability by ASEAN Economic Community framework. On a larger scale, Asia’s regional integration will continue to deepen with varying dimensions in the subregions. Even though Covid-19 threatens to reverse progress attained by open trade, investment, and mobility, digitalization can help recover and reconnect the cooperation among states.

Focus Group Discussion on Collaborative Research with Foreign Policy Strategy Agency (BSKLN) The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia

A Focus Group Discussion (FGD) which coordinated by the ASEAN Studies Center of Universitas Gadjah Mada and  of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia was successfully held on Tuesday, 8 September 2021 through the online platform, Zoom. The discussion was conducted to support a research titled “Indonesia’s Chairmanship in ASEAN 2023: Optimizing the Strengthening of the ASEAN E-Commerce Sector in order to Accelerate Economic Recovery” and is a continuation of the first FGD which was held on 2 July 2021.

The discussion was led by Research Lead, Pulung Setiosuci Perbowani and gathered 8 panelists representing (1) the marketplaces, namely Balques Manisang (Shopee); Ferdi Anggriawan (Go-Jek); Bondan Trihadi Magetian (Bukalapak); (2) e-commerce business actors: Dea Mariska Aprillah (Spartan Apparel); (3) Consumer: Ika Kurnia Riswandari (Indonesian, ASEAN, and Southeast Asian user of marketplaces); (4) Financial Technology/Financial Authority: Andi Adityaning Palupi (Bank Indonesia Daerah Istimewa Yogyakarta); and Fajar Eri Dianto (Telkom); and (5) Academia: Traheka Erdyas Bimanatya (Macro-Economist UGM).

The discussion took place in the talk show format and looked into the following topics, namely the mapping of a digital market, international market regulations, digital acceleration, payment method, and quality control as well as market strategy. This discussion also touched upon the long term prospect of e-commerce by peering into macroeconomic data. Traheka Erdyas Bimanatya pointed towards the fact that COVID-19 pandemic was not the cause of the digital market, but rather a catalyst for a transition to the digital market. E-commerce and physical stores are direct competitors, and therefore one mobility restrictions are lifted, consumers may return to shopping offline. As such, key players of e-commerce must strategize for the post-pandemic world if they wish to maintain their sales.

After the discussion session,  a question and answer session took place to entertain queries from researchers of the ASEAN Studies Center UGM. The event was closed by a closing statement from Muhammad Takdir, Head of Center for Foreign Policy Strategy for Asia-Pacific and Africa. In speech he highlighted the importance of adapting to the regional developments and, at the same time, linking it to our national interests, especially the interests of consumers and industries.