All at sea: what lies behind Southeast Asia’s migrant crisis?


The plight of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers from Myanmar and Bangladesh, left adrift without food and water for nearly a week, has all the hallmarks of a full-blown humanitarian crisis. Yet despite statements of concern from governments, aid agencies and human rights groups, there is little sign of a coordinated plan to address the issue. Boats have been spotted off the coasts of Indonesia, Thailand and Malaysia, apparently abandoned by human trafficking gangs who operate across maritime and land borders and shunned by regional powers.

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Buddhist-Muslim Meeting Pushes for Peace

“Yogyakarta Statement” – Responding to Interreligious Tensions

As reported in The Jakarta Post, the Muslim and Buddhist leaders of Southeast Asia and South Asia released the Yogyakarta Statement to refute the “use of Islam and Buddha in the politics of discrimination and violence.” As a result of the “Overcoming Extremism and Advancing Peace with Justice” meeting, which drew leaders from Buddhism and Islam to Indonesia, the Yogyakarta Statement was released Thursday, March 5. The Sri Lanka Council of Religions for Peace President, Bellanwila Wimalaratana Anunayake Thera, was there to speak as a representative of the Buddhist community in Sri Lanka at the Borobudur temple in Magelang.

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Christianity and Interreligion in South and Southeast Asia


Marcus Braybrooke, agent for the Interfaith Observer in Asia, writes: Living in a multi-religious society is still a new experience for many people in Europe and America, but in Asia members of one faith community have traditionally coexisted in the same geographical space with those of others. Crossing boundaries – for example, marrying a member of another community – could result in social ostracism. At times, sharp controversy and, sadly, horrific violence has been suffered, as when India was partitioned. At other times, for centuries in millions of villages and town, neighbors from different traditions have gotten on well, been friends, and even enjoyed some practical cooperation.

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Youth Action on Climate Change

The International Workshop on Climate Change “Youth Action on Climate Change” is organized by World Youth Foundation in collaboration with Ministry of Youth and Sports Malaysia, Malaysian National Commission for UNESCO, United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), Pembangunan Pertanian Melaka Sdn Bhd and various other agencies.

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Hate, racism have no place in Buddhism

Hate, racism have no place in Buddhism

Credit a top US diplomat for raising the issue of fast-growing religious intolerance in our region. Tom Malinowski, an official of the human rights office of the US State Department, made his comments last week in Myanmar. It was the perfect spot. It also drew the expected reaction: nothing. His message that hate and calls for violence were surfacing among some mainstream Buddhists in Myanmar and in Sri Lanka was overdue and bears strong repetition and opposition.

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Indonesia should allow interfaith marriage, say bishops


Indonesian bishops have told the country’s top court that they support interfaith marriage and that laws that may restrict mixed unions are discriminatory.

(Photo) Father Yohanes Purba Tamtomo, a representative of the Indonesia Bishops’ Conference, speaks about the Church’s position on interfaith marriage during a hearing at the Constitutional Court on Monday (Photo by Ryan Dagur)

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