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NTS Bulletin

NTS Bulletin May 2011 (Issue 2)

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MAIN HIGHLIGHT

The Thai-Cambodian Border Dispute Challenges to ASEAN Diplomacy

The Thai-Cambodian border once again became the site of violent clashes between the countries’ militaries in April. Following bloody clashes at the disputed site adjacent to the Preah Vihear temple on 4–7 February 2011 that saw an estimated 10 people killed, violence erupted again on 22 April despite a ceasefire, with 18 people thought to have been killed and 85,000 people displaced on either side of the border since that day, in the worst fighting witnessed in decades. The recent clashes took place approximately 150 km from Preah Vihear, around the temples of Ta Moan and Ta Krabey in an area claimed by both sides.

There was a significant – if not tempered – amount of optimism displayed in the initial stages of Indonesia’s engagement with Thailand and Cambodia (Indonesia is the current chair of ASEAN), with the disputing parties agreeing on 22 February to a historic agreement for unarmed Indonesian observers to be allowed onto the disputed territory to monitor a ceasefire. While Cambodia had requested the UN Security Council’s (UNSC) intervention following the February clashes – leading to concerns of ASEAN being sidelined – the UNSC’s endorsement of ASEAN’s central role in the dispute’s settlement was seen to have bolstered Indonesia’s position. Although more than two months later, the observers remain on stand-by in Jakarta – leading to serious concerns regarding ASEAN’s capacity to shape the trajectory of the conflict’s settlement – there have been positive developments since, with a trilateral meeting on 9 May involving the respective foreign ministers that led to the tentative endorsement of a ‘roadmap’ for the dispute’s resolution. The roadmap was presented in the form of a package proposal, which dealt with issues including the terms of reference of the Indonesian observer mission, the necessity of holding a General Border Committee (GBC) meeting, and the withdrawal of troops from the disputed areas. The Cambodian government has since approved the peace solution.

There are clearly high stakes associated with the border dispute and its settlement. At the heart of the issue is the credibility of ASEAN as a viable regional organisation and its much vaunted goal of achieving an integrated ‘community’ – politically, economically and culturally – by 2015.

Ultimately, it is increasingly difficult to argue against those that posit that the conflict is a critical litmus test for ASEAN. If the organisation eventually fails to establish an environment conducive to a long-term bilateral solution, it risks setting a dangerous precedent, undermining the body’s role in future dispute settlement. Despite the somewhat promising package proposal, given that Thailand’s upcoming general elections are slated for 3 July – and due to the domestic political concerns that invariably come into play – the immediate trajectory of the dispute’s resolution will by no means be predictable.

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HUMAN TRAFFICKING

News & Commentaries

Selected Publications

This article discusses the thorny issue of complicity by public authorities in trafficking in persons. By examining the links between public corruption and human trafficking, it highlights the gap in law enforcement against public officials. The article concludes by making proposals to improve public accountability such as through the Anti-Bribery Convention and inter-state mutual legal assistance treaties.

This article discusses the transnational impact of globalisation on the trafficking of persons. The article has a specific Southeast Asian focus on the issue of trafficking. In addition to reiterating the role of criminal law enforcement, the piece highlights the need to emphasise protection of victims and their human rights.

This article uses Australia as a case study to examine the extent to which victims of human trafficking are subject to return and reintegration processes, a commonly under-represented consideration across policy and literature concerning trafficking in persons. It studies the extent to which these processes are integrated into the core anti-trafficking themes of prevention, protection and prosecution.

Events & Announcements

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INTERNAL AND CROSS-BORDER CONFLICT

News & Commentaries

Selected Publications

This paper takes a timely look at security sector governance (SSG) in light of ASEAN’s goal to establish a security community. It argues that instituting SSG, and understanding its limitations and the problems of implementation are critical for ASEAN’s success in promoting peace and security in the Asian region.

This paper analyses the prospect of the diffusion of the Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) concept in Southeast Asia where states uphold the principle of non-intervention. Although states in the region are still reluctant to fully accept the RtoP concept due to their colonial past and domestic concerns, the manner in which ASEAN responded to Cyclone Nargis has been viewed as a step forward. In addition, the ASEAN Charter provides a legal basis for the localisation of the RtoP.

Events & Announcements

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MIGRATION

News & Commentaries

Selected Publications

This article offers a critical analysis of the West Papuan local government’s economic development policies and their effect on local West Papuans. It argues that these policies have failed and that this has led to problems such as increased poverty, the deterioration of the population’s health condition, etc.

This article examines illegal migration between India and Bangladesh, and the merits of securitising the issue of migration. It discusses the approach the state should take regarding the issue of illegal migration, especially if such migrants are linked to acts of terror in destination countries.

Events & Announcements

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TRANSNATIONAL CRIME

News & Commentaries

Selected Publications

This article attempts to conceptualise the issue of transnational environmental crime. It also seeks to present current efforts aimed at combating this phenomenon. The paper discusses various aspects of transnational environmental crime and suggests specific solutions to the problem.

This paper seeks to explain the phenomenon of attractiveness of male members of criminal groups to women living on the edge of poverty. It argues that a vicious cycle exists whereby young men seek to become ‘dangerous’ in order to attract the women whose affection in turn inspire new generations of boys to look for a ‘career’ in crime. In addition to describing the phenomenon, the paper tries to present possible solutions. 

Events & Announcements

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WATER SECURITY

News & Commentaries

Selected Publications

This report reviews the linkages between urbanisation and climate change. It illustrates the significant contribution of urban areas to climate change while at the same time highlighting the potentially devastating effects of climate change on urban populations. It goes on to review policy responses, strategies and practices that are emerging in urban areas to mitigate and adapt to climate change, as well as their potential achievements and constraints. In conclusion, the report argues that urban areas play a pivotal role in both climate change mitigation and adaptation and identifies strategies and approaches for strengthening this role.

Extensive experience shows that poor design and management of water systems in buildings can cause outbreaks of disease. This document provides guidance for managing water supplies in buildings where people may drink water; use water for food preparation, washing or for showers; or use water for swimming and other recreational activities; etc. The target audience for this document includes the full range of actors who influence the overall safe management of water supplies in buildings.

This training manual is designed to assist capacity builders in developing training and educational programmes on water integrity. The overall goal is to develop institutional capacities and prepare for change through increased knowledge and action on integrity, accountability and anti-corruption in any country or region. The target groups are primarily water managers, capacity builders, regulators and other water decision-makers.

Events & Announcements

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You are free to publish this material in its entirety or only in part in your newspapers, wire services, internet-based information networks and newsletters and you may use the information in your radio-TV discussions or as a basis for discussion in different fora, provided full credit is given to the author(s) and the Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS). Kindly inform the publisher (NTS_Centre@ntu.edu.sg) and provide details of when and where the publication was used.

About the Centre:

The Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies was inaugurated by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary-General Dr Surin Pitsuwan in May 2008. The Centre maintains research in the fields of Food Security, Climate Change, Energy Security, Health Security as well as Internal and Cross-Border Conflict. It produces policy-relevant analyses aimed at furthering awareness and building capacity to address NTS issues and challenges in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. The Centre also provides a platform for scholars and policymakers within and outside Asia to discuss and analyse NTS issues in the region.

In 2009, the Centre was chosen by the MacArthur Foundation as a lead institution for the MacArthur Asia Security Initiative, to develop policy research capacity and recommend policies on the critical security challenges facing the Asia-Pacific.

The Centre is also a founding member and the Secretariat for the Consortium of Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies in Asia (NTS-Asia). More information on the Centre can be found at www.rsis.edu.sg/nts.


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