Power and Democracy

By Yasmin Ahammad and Clarissa V. Militante

In the face of authoritarianism and systemically-rooted patriarchy in Southeast Asian societies, do women who have ascended to powerful government positions really wield power? Has this ‘power’ worked towards defending and protecting women and their rights, or has it only helped reproduce patriarchy and support authoritarian rule?


On the 45th anniversary of the declaration of Martial Law, young activists in the Philippines urge their fellow Filipinos to fight against the tyrannical rule of Duterte and to defend the democratic rights of the people. 2017 September 21. Quezon City, Philippines.

In many countries in Asia, new forms of authoritarianism are on the rise. In the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte—a former mayor accused of organizing death squads and who promised to make the fish of Manila Bay grow fat from the bodies of drug dealers—won the presidential elections in 2016. In Thailand in 2014, a general who had favored cracking down on demonstrators led other military leaders in launching a coup against the democratically elected government.

December 15th, 2017 - On the fifth anniversary of the enforced disappearance of Lao civil society leader Sombath Somphone, we, the undersigned organizations, express outrage at the Lao government’s failure to independently, impartially, effectively, and transparently investigate Sombath’s disappearance, reveal his whereabouts, and return him to his family.


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