Overview of Conflicts in the Region

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Feb 5, 2013 (5 years and 5 months ago)


Overview of Conflicts in the

Most countries in Southeast Asia continue to

face increasing INTERNAL problems and tensions.

There are continuing struggles for self
campaigns for democracy, resistance to globalization.

Several of these conflicts are protracted and often
involve a wide range of rebel groups.

Peace talks are being conducted between the
Government of the Philippines and the MILF

and not
without challenges.

Negotiations with the Maoist rebel groups

remain stalled, while the government and the MNLF are
conducting talks to revisit the implementation of the 1996

The military junta in Burma has long been approaching
different factions of the ethnic armed groups.

Several agreements have been signed but often with
lived results.

How did these conflicts emanate?

a.) Borders and political systems of many nation
states of
Southeast Asia were moulded by colonial powers

The legacy of colonialism is a recurring factor in our
analyses of contemporary conflicts in the region.

The struggles for self
determination such as those in
Mindanao, Southern Thailand and West Papua (and
Aceh) stem from the configurations and geographical
boundaries created in the context of de
colonization as
well as neglect and injustice imposed by elite
authoritarian government.

b.) Self
determination issues as articulated in identity (i.e. ethnic
and religious) underpin contemporary conflicts in Southeast Asia

Tensions have remained as root causes of conflict have remained
unaddressed leading to sporadic eruptions of violence along ethnic
and religious lines.

We have witnessed how the suppression of legitimate assertions of
ethnic and religious identities and the marginalization of minority
groups has created a deep sense of injustice and hence, the
conditions for conflict and disharmony between different identity

c.) Power inequalities and unequal access to resources
are behind many conflicts in the region

There is uneven development between countries and
within countries.

The problem of unequal control and access of natural
resources is particularly acute among the region's
indigenous communities, and has had grave impacts on
their economic, social and cultural livelihood.

d.) The discriminatory policies of states and structural
violence have caused much suffering, particularly for
indigenous communities, ethnic nationalities and
minority groups.

e.) The impact of the post 9/11 global security paradigm
in the region

The shift towards reliance on military force to achieve
security (and in some countries, to combat terrorism)
stymies the path toward peace and democracy and
improved performance on civil rights in Southeast Asia.

We have witnessed how the war on terror has been used by
some governments in the region to confront legitimate and
peaceful assertions of basic issues and in addressing conflict

It has provided a rationale for suppressive internal security
laws. The existing national security laws in Malaysia and
Singapore have been made more virulent and legitimate by
the war on terror paradigm. In the Philippines, the post 9/11
gave rise to draconian national security measures like the
Human Security Act.

The war on terror is fueling militarization of the region and the
expansion of US military influence, most notably in the
southern Philippines, which was singled out by the US as the
“second front” of the global war on terrorism.

There is need to collectively address these conflicts.
Conflicts affect everyone, it can spill outside one's
borders. And the impact is regional, even global like the
Burma issue.

Advocacy/Policy Messages

SEA's main advocacy is promoting partnerships,
engagement with governments, multi
lateral agencies,
governmental institutions and civil society in
preventing conflict and building peace.

Specifically, GPPAC aims to wage a campaign for the
establishment of Conflict Prevention and Peace Building
mechanisms in the region both at the ASEAN level and in
each member

Advocacy/Engagement Target/s

Engagement with ASEAN started with the ASEAN
Charter framework drafting process

Submissions on the community pillars of ASEAN were
made to the Eminent Persons Group (EPG) formed in
2006 whose primary task was to draft the ASEAN
Charter framework.

Engagement was continued with the High Level Task
Force created to draft the ASEAN Charter itself.

A submission for the institutionalization of a Conflict
Prevention Mechanism in ASEAN was included in the
all civil society recommendations or lobby points

These engagements were pursued as we hope to
contribute to building a broad civil society constituency
who believe in influencing inter
governmental processes
to become more people
centered, representative,
inclusive, participatory, transparent.

How is the engagement process?

Several approaches were utilized and platforms
maximized to pursue the engagement:

Meeting/audience were sought with the ASEAN
Generals and various officers and staff at the

By being part of a regional civil society platform


Participation in regional meetings and processes (ACSC,

Participation in the ASEAN Peoples' Assembly (APA)

Meetings/discussions with the ASEAN

Who are we?

The Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict
(GPPAC) was formed primarily to help address the challenge
of preventing violent and destructive conflict.


Contribute to building a just and sustainable peace by
transforming the underlying causes of conflict

We are a global network of civil society working on conflict
prevention and peace building that believe in the idea of
networking and cooperation.

We believe that partnerships between governments,
international organizations and civil society are vital to
make the transition towards effective ways of dealing with

And that not one actor can resolve conflict alone.

We are present in 15 regions and in Southeast Asia, the
Initiatives for International Dialogue (IID) is the Regional

Our membership involves around 16 organizations.