The Fund supports over thirty organizations through its Southeast Asia program in Burma, the Philippines, and Thailand. Our approach to grant-making—providing flexible support and the freedom to use it as needed—has been critical to human rights organizations in these counties who have responded with innovation and urgency to changing realities on the ground.
Burma, the Philippines, and Thailand have all endured military dictatorship and political turmoil that have contributed to an entrenched culture of impunity for human rights violations. Exploitation of natural resources and land are a source of major human rights violations across the region. Civil society continues to press for accountability and greater protections for abuses despite an increasingly restrictive space for activists and limited human rights mechanisms in the region. In Burma, our grantees are pressing for reform of the justice system and urging the recently reforming government to adopt a consistent human rights agenda. After years of impunity for abuses committed by the state in the Philippines, our support is enabling organizations to bring cases of disappeared persons to court and prevent the indefinite delay of justice. Today in Thailand, our unwavering support is more important than ever as human rights organizations continue their work despite the quickly diminishing respect for freedom and fundamental rights in the country.
The Fund’s flexible support enables effective organizations in Southeast Asia and beyond to set their own agenda, pursue the right strategies, and drive progress from the ground up even in the most difficult circumstances.