Thursday, June 26, 2008

International Workshop on Autonomy and Armed Separatism in South and Southeast Asia

For those with a strong academic interest in the Southern Insurgency, there is an important conference being held at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, National University of Singapore.

There are a number of well regarded academics such as Duncan McCargo and Anthony Reid and the abstracts look extremely interesting.

If any of the papers being presented are released, I will post links to them in the following days.

The description provided by the Asia Foundation is as follows:

Over recent decades, a number of South and Southeast Asian states have been troubled by intensifying armed separatist conflicts. Various forms of autonomy have been promoted by scholars and policy-makers as the most democratic way of accommodating separatist insurgents in ethnically, politically, religiously, economically and socially divided states. Despite this, very few states have successfully ended their armed separatist conflicts through offers of autonomy or self-governance. This raises difficult questions about how much freedom nation-states are willing and capable of granting their nationalist minorities without releasing control over their sovereign territories.

This international workshop promotes a multidisciplinary approach towards understanding national identity problems in seven South and Southeast Asian countries: Indonesia, Burma, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Thailand, India and Indonesia’s former province of East Timor. It explores the political, economic, legal, security and other compromises that have been offered by national governments to negotiate shared-rule outcomes with their separatist movements through the devolution of central state authority and resources. These attempts to achieve conflict resolution through autonomy have met with varying degrees of success, ranging from Indonesia’s successful offer of self-governance to Aceh to the ongoing separatist insurgencies in Indonesia’s Papua, southern Thailand, the Philippines, India, Sri Lanka and Burma.