A note from our Deputy Director of Programmes, Andreas Ljungholm
The institute has been active in Asia for over 25 years. In 1996 we initiated our cooperation in the region with human rights training courses for Chinese high-level justice officials. During the following years the activities in the region expanded.
Our China programme grew larger, we implemented projects in Vietnam in cooperation with the Vietnamese Institute for Human Rights (VIHR) and with the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies at Mahidol University in Thailand. Also, we initiated capacity development projects in cooperation with the Indonesian Ministry of Law and Human Rights.
In 2005, we established a presence in Jakarta to facilitate our cooperation in Indonesia. In the years that followed, we further developed our cooperation with partners.
RWI cooperated with National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), Academic Institutions and Justice Sector institutions in numerous countries in the region, for example in East Timor, Lao PDR, Vietnam, Thailand, the Philippines, Maldives, Mongolia, Myanmar, and Cambodia.
In addition to the bilateral projects, we have also, since 2001, implemented regional programmes in Asia that target, and bring together, different types of organizations and institutions from different countries.
In 2013 RWI established a presence in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, to facilitate cooperation as well as implement a large capacity development programme.
Over the years, the institute has played a key-role in supporting the establishment of Master Programmes in Human Rights at universities in the region, for example at Peking University (China), Mahidol University (Thailand) and Pannasastra University (Cambodia).
Instrumental support have also been given to several Judicial Training Academies and NHRI’s in the region and the institute’s unique method of working with human rights standards in prison was originally developed in cooperation with the Directorate General of Correctional Service (DGC) in Indonesia.
Since a few years back RWI has taken groundbreaking steps in relation to the interlinkages between Human Rights and the Environment in Asia-Pacific. It is now one of the leading actors in this field in the region.
In our aim to promote regional networking, and support discussions on human rights issues, we are involved in organising the ASEM informal seminar on human rights series.
In various ways, we have also been involved in the Human Rights Dialogues the Swedish government and/or EU have/had with countries in the region, for example with Indonesia, China, Laos, and Cambodia.