(1-15 December 2020)
The following is a brief bringing you highlights of advocacy efforts by APRRN, partners, and what’s upcoming. We hope to provide you with regular updates on our network’s activities and developments in the landscapes of refugee protection in the Asia Pacific region. Should you like to contribute information, resources, or updates, kindly contact Michelle at email@example.com.
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- 2-3 December: Amnesty International, Fortify Rights, and Refugees International released a statement in response to Bangladesh’s move to locate Rohingya refugees from the refugee camps to Bhasan Char island. The statement calls on the Bangladeshi government to cease the operation.
- 12 December: The Rohingya Students’ Union released a statement on the occasion of International Human Rights Day recalling their dire situation in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
- 8 December: APRRN published an urgent statement calling on the Malaysian government to stop the detention of children, regardless of their status or documentation, and to instead pursue alternative community placements and grant UNHCR timely access to detention facilities.
- 10 December: Fortify Rights hosted a report launch and panel discussion on their new report, ‘“Torture My Mind”: The Right to Mental Health for Rohingya Survivors of Genocide in Myanmar and Bangladesh’. The report explores the severe and protracted mental health crisis among Rohingya survivors. It also provided new quantitative evidence of the mental-health toll of genocide, human rights violations, and violence on Rohingya refugees, including extraordinarily high rates of post-traumatic stress that far exceed U.N. expected rates during emergencies.
- The summary of the webinar on Anti-Terror Legislation that was hosted by APRRN and Philippines Commission on Human Rights is now available online. It was a closed forum aimed to allow participants from civil society organisations and international humanitarian and advocacy partners to openly discuss the implications of anti-terror legislation in our work as human rights defenders. Please click here for the summary.
- 10 December: Dongcheon Foundation co-hosted the ReLATE (Refugee Law and Advocacy Training and Empowerment) virtual training for lawyers and law students that was intended for educational and awareness-raising purposes. Furthermore, the training looked to engage refugee lawyers and others in the Korean asylum sphere. APRRN Secretary General Themba Lewis presented an opening video presentation on refugee laws and refugee issues in the Asia Pacific region, and Il Lee from Advocates for Public Interest Law also spoke at the event.
- 1 December: The Coalition of the Rights of Refugees and Stateless Persons hosted their ‘Annual Stakeholders Meeting’ to present their 3-year strategic plan to promote human rights for refugees in Thailand, and to discuss collaborations with multi-stakeholders. They were joined by the Faculty of Law of Chulalongkorn University, the Department of Children and Youth, the Immigration Bureau, the Ambassador of the Canadian Mission of Thailand, members and partners.
- 2 December: APRRN organised the Practitioners’ Roundtable on the Right to Work where 15-20 regional experts gathered for a day-long roundtable event to assess opportunities for advancing work rights, discuss legal frameworks and litigation strategies, explore and engage non-traditional actors through a whole-of society-approach, and strategize advocacy on national and regional levels. Roundtable participants included the 2020 Short Course on Refugee Rights, thus expanding engagement beyond the traditional actors. Following the roundtable, participants had the opportunity to pitch projects for seed funding (up to 5,500 EUR).
- 3 December: APRRN co-hosted a documentary screening of ‘Chauka, Please Tell Us the Time’ with the Centre for Asia Pacific Refugee Studies at the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand in Bangkok. The documentary provides a glimpse into the injustices, violence, and grave human rights abuses resulting from Australia’s policy in the Manus Island offshore detention centre through the testimonies of its inmates. It was followed by a panel and Q&A discussion with the directors of the film along with experts from the Refugee Council of Australia and the International Detention Coalition.
- From 24 November to 18 December, APRRN will be presenting our Short Course on Refugee Rights and Advocacy, in collaboration with academic partners and experts, purposed to increase knowledge, develop critical human-rights understanding relevant to forced migration, and strengthen the capacity of advocates for refugee rights in the Asia Pacific region. For this year’s Short Course, APRRN is proud to say that we have the highest number of participants, breaking all the records from previous years’.
- The third and fourth parts of the event included experts from Asylum Access, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, UNHCR, Geutanyoe Foundation, ASEAN Intergovernmental Commission on Human Rights, South China Morning Post, and Human Rights Watch.
Regional and Global
- 8 December: Themba Lewis and Chair of the Rohingya Working Group Lilianne Fan, gave a presentation on advocacy and closed-door lobbying, sharing their experiences in closed-door lobbying with different stakeholders, dynamics or concerns between political changes and advocacy actions, other challenges and potential mitigations in their advocacy experiences at a private learning seminar.
- 14 December: The Asia Displacement Solutions Platform a seminar based on their research report entitled ‘Rohingya in South East Asia – Opportunities for Engagement’. The report maps the policy making environment and institutional architecture of Asian civil society organisations (CSOs) and communities engaged in issues of Rohingya statelessness and in supporting Rohingya refugees. The report also documents and assesses the interests and capacities of these CSOs, and provides conclusions and recommendations to support development of stronger and more representative policy engagement and a regional advocacy strategy.
- 14 December: UNHCR and the Asian Disaster Reduction and Response Network hosted a webinar on ‘Preventing statelessness and mitigating the impact of statelessness on the life of affected individuals’ with APRRN moderating the webinar. It explored whether and how the cooperation between UNHCR and NGOs in the named areas of humanitarian engagement can be strengthened, and thus become more effective in addressing root causes and providing protection.
On the radar
- 17 December: The Asia Pacific Network of Refugees is hosting a consultation on ‘Refugees in Japan; Refugees Matter’ to better understand the needs & priorities for collaborative strategic advocacy efforts. If you are a refugee in Japan, please register here.
- Bangkok Urban Community Club is joining hands with five other organisations for a fundraising campaign for a refugee-led education programme. The donations will also be used for a small learning centre based in Bangkok. Please go here to donate and support for a better future for refugees and asylum seekers.
- 10 January: Same Skies is organising a Transformative Leadership in Action programme which will last from 21 February – 3 October 2021. This innovative learning programme will train participants on its means to display leadership as a socially responsible global citizen by co-creating solutions with actors from the refugee community. The deadline for applications is 10 January 2021. Click here to apply.