JOURNAL ARTICLE: The Public Regime for Migrant Child Education in Thailand: Alternative Depictions of Policy

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Publication date:
September 2018

Publication: Asian Politics & Policy

Authors:
Nongyao Nawarat and Michael Medley

Abstract:
This article analyzes the conceptualization and depiction of Thailand’s public policy on education for the children of migrant workers in the country by examining a cluster of fairly  recent  literature  on  the  subject.  The  studied  texts  broadly  share  the  view  that Thailand’s  policy  of  providing  full  education  to  these  children  is  subject  to  gaps  and patchy  implementation.  An  analytical  review  of  the  literature  on  conceptualizing  this policy shows, however, that this picture is misleading as it tends to reduce policy to an idealized  intention.  Rather,  Thailand  has  a  plurality  of  local  policies  ambiguously governed by a national policy, which in turn does not predominantly aim at education for all. We contend that our improved characterization of the situation helps create more productive openings for research and policy change on this important topic.

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JOURNAL ARTICLE: National Human Rights Institutions, Extraterritorial Obligations and Hydropower in Southeast Asia: Implications of the Region’s Authoritarian Turn

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Publication date:
June 2018

Publication: Austrian Journal of Southeast Asia Studies

Authors:
Carl Middleton

Abstract:
This article examines the role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and transnational civil society in pursing Extraterritorial Obligation (ETO) cases in Southeast Asia as a means to investigate human rights threatened by cross-border investment projects. Two large hydropower dams under construction in Laos submitted to NHRIs from Thailand and Malaysia, namely the Xayaburi Dam and Don Sahong Dam, are detailed as case studies. The article argues that the emergence of ETOs in Southeast Asia, and its future potential, is dependent upon the collaborative relationship between the NHRIs and transnational civil society networks. Whilst NHRIs are in positions of political authority to investigate cases, civil society also enable cases through networking, research, and public advocacy. Further institutionalization of ETOs is significant to emerging regional and global agendas on business and human rights, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights that both the Thai and Malaysian governments have expressed commitment to. However, in Thailand and its neighboring countries where investments are located there has been an authoritarian turn. Reflecting this, there are weakening mandates of NHRIs and reduced civil and political freedoms upon which civil society depends that challenges the ability to investigate and pursue cases.

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JOURNAL ARTICLE: Long-term recovery narratives following major disasters in Southeast Asia

JOURNAL ARTICLE: Long-term recovery narratives following major disasters in Southeast Asia

Most studies of major disasters focus on the impacts of the event and the short-term responses. Some evaluate the underlying causes of vulnerability, but few follow-up events years later to evaluate the consequences of early framings of the recovery process. The objective of this study was to improve understanding of the influence that recovery narratives have had on how decisions and actions are undertaken to recover from a disaster, and what influence this has had in turn, on long-term resilience. The study drew on comparisons and insights from four case studies in Southeast Asia: (1) local innovations that led to new policies for living with floods in the Mekong Delta in Vietnam following the 2001 Mekong River floods; (2) livelihood and infrastructure responses in Prey Veng, Cambodia, after the 2001 and 2011 Mekong River floods; (3) the role of the Panglima Laot, a traditional fisheries management institution, in the recovery process following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in Aceh province, Indonesia; and (4) the challenges faced by small and medium enterprises in a market area following the 2011 floods in Bangkok, Thailand. This study identified alternative narratives on the purpose and means of ‘recovery’ with implications for who ultimately benefits and who remains at risk. The study also found both formal and informal loss and damage systems were involved in recoveries. The findings of this study are important for improving the performance of loss and damage systems, both existing and planned, and, ultimately, supporting more climate resilient development that is inclusive.

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BOOK CHAPTER: Chapter 2: Living with the flood: A political ecology of fishing, farming, and migration around Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia

BOOK CHAPTER: Chapter 2: Living with the  flood: A political ecology of  fishing, farming, and migration around Tonle Sap Lake, Cambodia

This chapter shows how small-scale farmers and fishers around Tonle Sap Lake have been relatively resilient to flooding. However, changing flooding regimes have created more regular shocks for farmers, whilst declining fish stocks are increasing fishing households vulnerability. These flooding-related shocks and associated vulnerabilities link to the creation of debt for farmers and fishers, which influences the decision to send household members to migrate. Whether the incentive for migration is livelihood diversification or debt repayment, the influence of the Tonle Sap’s flood regime from year to year is significant as it is generative of the viability of farming and fishing livelihoods. Household livelihood viability and associated vulnerabilities, however, is in turn determined by social factors, such as the politics and contestations over access to resources in the village, as well as national level policies on fisheries and farming and transboundary water governance.

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BOOK CHAPTER: Chapter 5: Living with and against floods in Bangkok and Thailand's central plain

Publication date:
December 2017

Publication:
Living with Floods in a Mobile Southeast Asia: A Political Ecology of Vulnerability, Migration and Environmental Change

Authors:
Naruemon Thabchumpon and Narumon Arunotai

Editors:
Carl Middleton, Rebecca Elmhirst and Supang Chantavanich

For further details on the book and to purchase, please visit are Routledge Press.

For more information about our project Mobile political ecologies of Southeast Asia, please visit here and to view the full policy brief on the book's research, please visit here

In this chapter, Naruemon Thabchumpon and Narumon Arunotai present empirical research on the impacts of the major flood in 2011 in Thailand on three urban, one semi-urban and three rural communities. The chapter shows that whilst the rural communities are largely adapted to seasonal flooding, the 2011 flood increased vulnerability due to damage of property and livelihoods. In urban areas, communities were not well prepared and therefore were highly vulnerable. The chapter discusses the contentious politics of how vulnerability was exacerbated by government policy to protect core urban and industrial areas, leaving rural and suburban areas flooded. Thabchumpon and Arunotai nd that in the case studies selected the relationship between flooding and mobility is subtle. For example, some, but not all, rural migrants living in urban areas returned to their rural family homes, where living with floods was more feasible.

Please contact nthabchumpon@gmail.com for more information.

BOOK CHAPTER: Chapter 1: Migration and floods in Southeast Asia: A mobile political ecology of vulnerability, resilience and social justice

BOOK CHAPTER: Chapter 1: Migration and floods in Southeast Asia: A mobile political ecology of vulnerability, resilience and social justice

Flooding is a common experience in monsoonal regions of Southeast Asia, where diverse flood regimes have for centuries shaped agrarian and fisheries-based livelihoods. However, in recent public discourse, the link between flooding and migration is most often made with regard to catastrophic flood events. News images of frequent and intense weather-related flood events in the region’s low-lying megacity and delta regions in recent years has contributed to a perceived link between extreme environmental events and mass migration through displacement. Yet, this focus on mass displacement frames migration in largely negative terms. Mobility is seen as a failure of adaptation to a changing environment, with both trans-border and internal population mobility to some even regarded as a security issue.

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BOOK: Living with Floods in a Mobile Southeast Asia: Vulnerability, Migration and Environmental Change

BOOK: Living with Floods in a Mobile Southeast Asia: Vulnerability, Migration and Environmental Change

Flooding is a common experience in monsoonal regions of South East Asia, where diverse flood regimes have for centuries shaped agrarian and fisheries-based livelihoods. In this book, we highlight the need for a nuanced understanding of the connections between flooding and migration in Southeast Asia. The book provides key insights from eight empirical case studies in urban and rural areas across Southeast Asia. Overall, through a better understanding of the relationship between migration, vulnerability, resilience and social justice in Southeast Asia, we aim to sensitize flood hazard policy agendas to the complexities of migration and mobility.

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POLICY BRIEF: Living with Floods in a Mobile Southeast Asia: Vulnerability, Migration and Environmental Change

Flooding is a common experience in monsoonal regions of South East Asia, where diverse flood regimes have for centuries shaped agrarian and fisheries-based livelihoods. In this policy brief, we respond to the need for a nuanced understanding of the connections between flooding and migration in Southeast Asia. The policy brief summarizes key insights from a research project with eight empirical case studies in urban and rural areas across Southeast Asia. The policy brief outlines the multi-dimensional relationship between migration, vulnerability, resilience and social justice in Southeast Asia, cutting across the local, national and regional level, and offers recommendations on how to sensitize flood hazard policy agendas to the complexities of migration and mobility.

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CONFERENCE PAPER: National Human Rights Institutions as Arenas of Transboundary Water Justice: Evaluating case studies from the Mekong River

National Human Rights Institutions as Arenas of Transboundary Water Justice: Evaluating case studies from the Mekong River

By Carl Middleton[1]

Presented at International Conference on National Human Rights Mechanisms in Southeast Asia: Challenges of Protection, Asia Center, Bangkok, Thailand, 13 - 14 July 2017

In Southeast Asia, major transboundary rivers such as the Mekong River are central to the food security, livelihoods and culture of millions of people. An increasingly extensive program of large hydropower dam construction is underway in Laos and Cambodia to meet domestic electricity demand and for power export to neighboring Thailand, Vietnam and China.  How the concept of justice in water governance should be understood and applied to transboundary rivers is increasingly the subject of critical analysis, including with regard to human rights-based approaches.
 
This paper examines how claims for justice on the Mekong Rivers around large hydropower dams have been made and framed within “arenas of water justice” in Southeast Asia, with a particular focus on mechanisms for extra-territorial obligations (ETOs) and the role of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in Thailand. The research draws upon in-depth interviews and participatory observation with community representatives, civil society groups, NHRIs, government agencies and the ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights (AICHR) conducted during 2015 and 2016.
 
This paper discusses the roles, opportunities and challenges for public interest law and national/ regional human rights institutions to protect and promote human rights on transboundary rivers. It also discusses the strategies communities and civil society undertake in seeking to ensure their human rights are respected, including through national and regional human rights institutions. Overall, the paper argues that in recent years NHRIs have become important arenas of water justice in Southeast Asia for transboundary rivers, although also face limitations in particular regarding their authority to investigate cross-border cases and ultimately to hold domestic actors to account.

Download full paper click here.
Download Power Point of this paper click here.

Cite this article as: Middleton, C. (2017) "National Human Rights Institutions as Arenas of Transboundary Water Justice: Evaluating case studies from the Mekong River" Paper presented at the International Conference on National Human Rights Mechanisms in Southeast Asia: Challenges of Protection, Asia Center, Bangkok, Thailand, 13 - 14 July 2017

[1] Center for Social Development Studies, Faculty of Political Science, Chulalongkorn University, Thailand. (Carl.Chulalongkorn@gmail.com)

BOOK CHAPTER: Social Movement Resistance to Accumulation by Dispossession in Myanmar: A Case Study of the Ka Lone Htar Dam near the Dawei Special Economic Zone

BOOK CHAPTER: Social Movement Resistance to Accumulation by Dispossession in Myanmar: A Case Study of the Ka Lone Htar Dam near the Dawei Special Economic Zone

By Dr. Carl Middleton and Zaw Aung

The focus of this chapter is a water storage dam proposed at Ka Lone Htar village, located outside of the Dawei SEZ itself, intended to supply freshwater to the SEZ’s industries. If built, the dam would fully submerge the village consisting of 182 households, along with several thousand acres of plantations and natural forest. In response to the threat of dispossession and relocation, the Ka Lone Htar community members successfully mobilized and resisted the dam.

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BOOK CHAPTER: Arenas of Water Justice on Transboundary Rivers: A Case Study of the Xayaburi Dam, Laos

BOOK CHAPTER: Arenas of Water Justice on Transboundary Rivers: A Case Study of the Xayaburi Dam, Laos

By Carl Middleton and Ashley Pritchard

In Southeast Asia, major transboundary rivers such as the Mekong River are central to the food security, livelihoods and culture of millions of people. An increasingly extensive program of large hydropower dam construction is underway in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar to meet domestic electricity demand and for power export to neighboring Thailand, Vietnam and China. 

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CONFERENCE PAPER: Arenas of Water Justice on Transboundary Rivers

CONFERENCE PAPER: Arenas of Water Justice on Transboundary Rivers

By Carl Middleton

This paper examines how processes of transboundary river resource dispossession by large hydropower dams have been challenged within “arenas of water justice” in Southeast Asia, conceptualized as politicized spaces of water governance in which a process for claiming and/or defending the Right to Water takes place.

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JOURNAL ARTICLE: The Rise And Implications of the Water-energy-food Nexus In Southeast Asia Through An Environmental Justice Lens

JOURNAL ARTICLE: The Rise And Implications of the Water-energy-food Nexus In Southeast Asia Through An Environmental Justice Lens

By Carl Middleton (International Researcher, CSDS), Jeremy Allouche, Dipak Gyawali and Sarah Allen.

This article maps the rise of the water-energy-food 'nexus' as a research, policy and project agenda in mainland Southeast Asia. We argue that introducing the concept of environmental justice into the nexus, especially where narratives, trade-offs and outcomes are contested, could make better use of how the nexus is framed, understood and acted upon.

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BOOK: Challenges To Human Security In A Borderless World

BOOK: Challenges To Human Security In A Borderless World

Edited by Surichai Wun'gaeo

This book is a collection of papers presented at the international symposium on Human Security chaired by Amartya Sen and Sadako Ogata. More than 700 participants attended the symposium held at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok on 11th December 2002. The participants came not only from different parts of the world but also diverse background.

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