The following is a brief bringing you highlights of advocacy efforts by APRRN, members, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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- 7 October: The 2020-21 Budget sees Federal Government cutting the Refugee and Humanitarian Program by 5000 resettlement places a year, halve its financial assistance to people seeking asylum while increasing funding to its punitive offshore processing regime. Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA) released a statement and an analysis highlighting the impact on service providers, refugees and asylum seekers.
- 9 October: Fortify Rights called on the Bangladesh government in a press release to stop the construction of barbed-wire fencing confining hundreds of thousands of Rohingya in the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar.
- 9 October: Amnesty International published a press release calling on Bangladeshi authorities to ensure the protection of Rohingya refugees following violent clashes between armed gangs that have killed at least nine people and injured hundreds of others in Cox’s Bazar since 4 October.
- Justice Centre for Hong Kong expressed concerns over proposed amendments to the High Court Ordinance (Cap. 4) that risk diluting procedural fairness protection for applicants of judicial review, especially those seeking asylum. Justice Centre calls for a high standard of fairness to be observed, and for broader issues around the refugee screening mechanism, such as the lack of legal representation, to be addressed.
- 9 October: Mozghan Moeref, the Co-Founder of the Refugees and Asylum Seekers Information Centre (RAIC), co-hosted a five-part podcast series entitled ‘The Wait’ uncovering how Australia is pushing its borders out and bringing stories of the lives of refugees who are caught on the borderline in Indonesia.
- The Indonesian Civil Society Association for Refugee Rights Protection (SUAKA) is launching a ‘Refugee Legal Webinar Series‘ (RLWS) as a form of legal empowerment for refugees in the country. This series seeks to provide information and increase knowledge on rights, various law topics and issues related to the lives of refugees and asylum seekers
- Following submissions on prolonged and arbitrary detention made by two asylum seekers, Deniz Yengin and Heydar Safari Diman to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD), the WG rendered the opinion that the deprivation of liberty of these two asylum seekers is arbitrary and is in contravention of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The government is requested to take necessary measures for remedy, including a review of the Immigration Control and Refugee Recognition Act. APRRN members, including Japan Refugee Association (JAR) urges that amendments to the Act must reflect WGAD’s recommendations.
- The government imposed a Conditional Movement Control Order due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in parts of the country. APRRN members including Amnesty International and Fortify Rights call for engagement with communities and measures of protection regardless of immigration status.
- 8 October: Progressive Voice joined 18 organisations, including the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law School, to publish a report that examines the impact of hate speech, rampant misinformation campaigns, and ultranationalism in the resurgence of oppression and human rights violations. It also demonstrates how hate speech and discrimination affects all ethnic and religious minorities in Myanmar, while highlighting the particularly acute impact on the Rohingya and Muslims.
- 8 October: Human Rights Watch organised a press conference on ‘Myanmar’s Mass Detention of Rohingya in Rakhine State’ and a report launch of ‘An Open Prison without End‘, documenting the extreme conditions and movement restrictions that arbitrarily deprive Rohingya of their land, dignity, and freedom.
REGIONAL & GLOBAL
- 8 October: FORUM-ASIA and the ASEAN Studies Center Universitas Gadjah Mada organised a forum to present the ‘ACWC+10: Assessing the Commission’s Impact on Protecting Women and Children’s Rights in ASEAN’ report highlighting the milestones, challenges, and recommendation from the ten-year review since the establishment of the ASEAN Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children.
- Report: The Border Consortium (TBC) released their Mid-Year Overview for January to June 2020 which provided a situational update on refugees, TBC’s programmes, financial review, and strategic directions for Thailand and Myanmar.
- Reports: ‘A restriction of responsibility-sharing: Exploring the impact of COVID-19 on the Global Compact on Refugees‘ and ‘COVID-19 and the Global Compact for Migration: Is a Compact born in a crisis born again in the whirlwinds of three global crises?‘ were studies conducted by the Danish Refugee Council and the Mixed Migration Centre, respectively. Both reports were presented in parallel in a webinar entitled ‘COVID-19 and the Global Refugee and Migration Compacts: What Learning and Way Forward?’ on 14 October.
On the radar
- APRRN is organising a ‘Short Course on Refugee Rights and Advocacy‘ in partnership with the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies of Mahidol University, and the Centre for Applied Human Rights of the University of York. The Short Course is an annual activity 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. Call for application closes 31 October. To register, please see here.
- 19-21 October: PILnet is organising the 2020 Global Forum which convenes over 400 lawyers and advocates from around the world to forge alliances and develop strategies for using the law to protect civil society and the communities they serve.
- 21 October: Lilliane Fan, the Deputy Chair of the Rohingya Working Group, will join four other speakers for the ‘COVID-19: Border Restrictions for Migrant Communities’ webinar organised by the Global Coalition on Migration. This webinar will focus on the impact of COVID-19 on international migration movements during the pandemic and restrictions that may stay in place post the pandemic. The panellists will focus on various regions and particular hotspot borders. To register, please see here.
- The Forcibly Displaced People Network partnered with MasterClass to provide any LGBTIQ person who is a migrant, refugee or seeking asylum in the region the opportunity to access free courses with membership up to a year. Online classes are accessible through mobile or desktop, taught by the best in business, culinary arts, film and television, music and entertainment, photography, sports, and more. To register, please see here.
- Same Skies is organising a Transformative Leadership in Action programme which will take place from the 21 February to 3 October 2021. This seven-month action-based programme aims to promote global citizenship, creating positive change, and fostering collaboration by co-creating solutions with affected communities.