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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

East Asia and Pacific Programs


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Burma

Indonesia

Philippines

Cambodia

Laos

Thailand

China

Malaysia

Vietnam

East Timor

North Korea

Burma
DRL supports programs in Burma that provide educational scholarships and exchanges to Burmese students and promote democracy and human rights.

One DRL-implementer provides training to Burmese journalists and media professionals; financially supports Burmese students to receive advanced degrees in preparation for their future leadership roles; and builds the capacity of Burmese NGOs.

Cambodia
DRL programs in Cambodia focus on land rights, professionalism and development of the media, as well as civic participation.

One DRL partner seeks to improve land tenure security by informing citizens of their rights to acquire and preserve full ownership of their land and by assisting in the peaceful resolution of land disputes. Activities include fostering a network of party assistants to advise and assist citizens in resolving land disputes; comprehensive public awareness campaigns; and two community pilot programs which provide comprehensive documentation of land history.

Another DRL grant recipient seeks to develop two radio series that focus on connecting the rule of law, democracy, local governance and land disputes with civic responsibilities and the elections. The radio series will be broadcast via satellite to nine partner radio stations, with a goal of reaching 80% of Cambodia. Among other topics, the radio shows will profile local leaders and organizations that champion reform efforts or run for office based on local governance issues.

China
DRL supports creative projects intended to foster democracy, human rights, transparency, freedom of information and expression, religious freedom, judicial independence, criminal and civil rule of law, civil society, freedom of the press, electoral reform, public participation, labor rights, and media reform in the People's Republic of China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. DRL facilitates projects that will have a direct and lasting impact by promoting reforms and structural changes such as rule of law development and greater public involvement in government decision making.

East Timor
DRL supports conflict resolution and electoral assistance in East Timor.

DRL's partner seeks to build civil society, including the ability of local groups to monitor and resolve election-related conflicts, and works to develop the capacity of electoral officials to effectively investigate and adjudicate official election complaints. Activities include: partnering with local organizations to develop a credible mechanism for complaint submission and adjudication; informing the public through civic education; developing an early warning system for conflict through monitoring and analysis; and providing local solutions to conflict through civil society groups and local empowerment.

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Indonesia
DRL's Indonesia programs address combating gender based violence, promoting youth civic participation, and women's political participation.

One DRL partner provides training and technical support to three local NGOs in Jayapura on awareness raising strategies. The organization provides gender based violence support services, as well as grant application and administration training. The program seeks to spread awareness of the causes of GBV and its negative impact by educating 10,000 community members, forming 100 support groups and supporting the reduction of GBV in the area by 40%.

Another DRL Indonesia program established a training of trainers program within the women's wings of the major Indonesia political parties, in order to strengthen participation and empower women in politics. Activities include conducting a baseline assessment to establish current status of women's political participation in Indonesia and to identify key barriers through focus groups; implementing targeted training of trainer programs within the existing infrastructures of the women's wings of Indonesia parties; providing oversight and guidance to trainers during peer-to-peer trainings; fostering intra-party networking; and building coalitions and inter-party relations among women at the provincial and local levels.

Laos
DRL's Laos program seeks to improve procedures for village elections and to provide training for election officials. The program implementer also contributes to the development of regulations that bring government decision-making closer to the people.

Malaysia
DRL supports programs in Malaysia that focus on youth civic participation and the intersection of democracy and human rights in the Islamic context.

One DRL program implementer provides an interactive civic education program for lower secondary school and university students of diverse ethnic and religious backgrounds. The program encourages regional cooperation and discussion to address the need for improvement in civic education curricula. The program also provides prominent educators, public policy makers and Ministry of Education officials with examples of new methods of teaching civic education through observing hands-on, interactive teaching and learning, and ways to implement civic education curricular programs. At the end of the program, students present their solution to a local public policy problem or issue.

Another Malaysia program advances the elements within the Government of Malaysia's Islam Hadhari policy that promotes the principles of democracy and human rights. The program provides a key opportunity to build support of leaders and civil society for the elaboration of Islam Hadhari into policies grounded in concepts of human rights and democratic values.

North Korea
DRL supports programs in North Korea that address democracy, human rights and the rule of law through support for local NGOs and independent media.

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Philippines
DRL's programming in the Philippines address such issues as promoting religious tolerance in Muslim Mindanao, supporting the Commission on Human Rights, and enhancing independent media.

One DRL partner seeks to strengthen the capacity of institutions in Muslim Mindanao and other parts of the Philippines to respond to human rights violations. By building and expanding upon the initial success of the Martus human rights abuse documentation database, the project enhances the linkages between the Philippine Commission on Human Rights, its field office, and the greater NGO community that is focused on combating human rights abuses.

Another DRL program seeks to reduce sensationalist and divisive reporting in the Filipino media. While encouraging media that highlights the human cost of on-going political, economic, and violent conflict, the program encourages reconciliation and reasoned debate. The objective of the project is to contribute to democracy and human rights by transforming a negative and polarizing media into a constructive and responsible force for social and political cohesion. The program implementer will train, build capacity, and empower a cross-faith and sustainable network of professional journalists in the Philippines.

Thailand
DRL supports a number of initiatives in Thailand, with topics focused on empowering worker and human rights advocates and NGOs, promoting media that supports reform and reconciliation, increasing the political participation of communities and minorities, and improving the integrity and credibility of the electoral process.

One DRL program in Thailand supports new media reporting and information distribution aimed towards building national dialogue in the post-coup political reform processes. The project's goals include independent media reporting on constitutional and political reform, media reporting on root causes of conflict in southern Thailand and increased capacity and networking of independent media.

Another DRL-supported program seeks to provide rural communities and minority groups with the knowledge and skills required to effectively participate in local governance, as well as amend selected laws, regulations, and procedures in order to better facilitate public participation in local governance. While this project aims to increase participation in democratic processes, the larger and more long-term result of the program will be the program's contribution to improved stability, development and the consolidation of democracy in Thailand.

Vietnam
DRL supports an initiative in Vietnam that advances the rule of law.

DRL's program implementer supports the development of rights-based governance and respect for the rule of law in Vietnam. To achieve this, the program works with local partners to: increase the adversarial nature of court proceedings; improve protection of defendants' rights in criminal cases; improve the protection of citizens' rights and the public interest more generally in selected substantive areas; and increase public awareness and understanding of citizen rights and the role of the law in society. Activities include providing technical assistance, funding, capacity-building support, and training to the Vietnamese Bar Association, governmental entities, and civil society groups aimed at increasing grass roots advocacy.

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