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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 22 August: APRRN member, the Queer Sisterhood Project, a key organisation for LGBTIQ rights for refugees in Australia, shared the success story in advocating for two of their members: two queer women who were granted protection visas and their experiences of seeking safety and protection in the country.
- APRRN’s Rohingya Working Group co-organised a month-long ‘Virtual Workshop on Refugee Protection in the Context of COVID-19’ with local partners based in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Participants examined protection concerns, good practices, and identified strategies to address existing and emerging challenges in the context of COVID-19 through case studies. Resources and video recordings from the workshop may be accessed here.
- 5 August: APRRN member Fortify Rights, released a press statement calling on Bangladesh to free more than 300 Rohingya refugees detained on Bhasan Char Island.
- 24 August: The Centre for Peace and Justice, BRAC University, organised a webinar entitled, ‘Bridging Community and Humanitarian Response to COVID-19 in Rohingya Response’
- 25 August: In commemoration of the third year since the brutal campaign of violence in Myanmar and mass exodus of over 700,000 Rohingya people to Bangladesh, a group of organisations, including refugee-led APRRN member, the Rohingya Students’ Union, released a joint statement calling for justice and for the international community to take action.
- APRRN member, Oxfam, organised an art competition entitled, ‘Rohingya Realities; Rohingya Futures’. Submissions by finalists can be viewed here.
- 27 August: APRRN Rohingya Working Group Chair, Lilliane Fan, presented as a resource person in an e-conference, ‘Connecting the Rohingya Diaspora: Highlighting the Global Displacement’, discussing the role of international community in advocating and ensuring safe, dignified, informed, and voluntary repatriation of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.
- In the month of July, APRRN member, Beyond Borders co-organised a month-long ‘Refugee Fest 2020‘, supported by APRRN. APRRN members in Malaysia participated as performers, resource persons and panellists. Programme Officer, Rachel Tan, and APRRN Chair, Arash Bordbar, contributed as moderators.
- APRRN liaised and coordinated with the Bar Council, local partners, and the media in Malaysia on the court proceedings against the Rohingya refugees in the North of Malaysia. The Malaysian court overturned a ruling sentencing 27 Rohingya men to caning, concluding that they are refugees in need of protection.
- 18 August: APRRN member, Geutanyoe Foundation and the All Party Parliamentary Group Malaysia (APPGM) co-organised a consultation with 25 refugee representatives from 17 different communities discussing issues on documentation, education, health, work rights and strengthening relations with host communities. Geutanyoe serves as the Secretariat of APPGM.
- APRRN member, The Border Consortium, working closely with refugees living in camps at the Thailand-Myanmar (Burma) border, released their 2019 Annual Report covering a range of challenges and strategic directions for the next two years.
- In July, the Coalition for the Rights of Refugees and Stateless Persons (CRSP), an APRRN member organisation, organised a month-long series of four weekly webinars based on ‘Refugees in Thailand’. Bringing together refugees, advocates, and experts, topics included the National Screening Mechanism; potential durable solutions and the protracted refugee situation along the Thai-Myanmar border; the Rohingya refugees’ situation; and xenophobia. APRRN Operations Coordinator, Patcharin Nawichai, and Secretary General, Themba Lewis, participated as a moderator and panel speaker, respectively, during the 15 July panel ‘Thirty Years of Uncertainty: Myanmar Refugees Living on the Thai-Myanmar Border’.
- 22 August: Programme Coordinator, Janeen Sawatzky, presented as a panelist on a webinar, ‘The Forgotten Voices of Burma: Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons Volume 3‘ organised by the US Campaign for Burma.
Regional and Global
- On 23 July, APRRN, along with Thomas Reuters Foundation, UNHCR and APRRN member PILnet, hosted an initial roundtable for NGOs and law firms to learn more about the Global Refugee Forum pledges, how pro bono support works, and share perspective on projects in which lawyers can be involved. Pro bono lawyers will be matched with projects at a later date, with the pledge expected to last until at least 2023.
- On 2 and 23 July, APRRN participated in the ‘Online Series Discussion on Higher Education Initiatives for Refugees in Asia and the Pacific’ regional conference co-hosted by UNHCR and the Japan ICU Foundation (JICUF). APRRN’s Chair, Arash Bordbar, presented as a main speaker on 2 July. Themba Lewis facilitated the breakout sessions, drawing critical discussion points on gaps and ways forward. Members of APRRN, such as the Refugee Council of Australia, The Centre for Asia Pacific Refugee Studies (CAPRS), and Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR), also participated in the webinar.
- APRRN endorsed the first webinar organised by Rohingya women-led organisations, ‘Her Voices, Her Journey: The Gendered Experiences of Rohingya Women’ that took place on 24 July. Speakers on the panel were Rohingya women from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, and Malaysia. Two Rohingya representatives from APRRN member organisations participated as panellists in the event, namely Azizah Noor from the Refugee Council of Australia and Hasnah Hussein from Tenaganita.
- 18 August: The Asia Pacific Network of Refugees (APNOR) published a final report on a virtual conference entitled, ‘Refugee Women: Responding to COVID-19’. The conference was led by the Global Independent Refugee Women Leaders and hosted by the World Refugee Migration Council.
- APRRN member, Asylum Access launched a social media toolkit called the Healthcare Inclusion Coalition. This campaign aims to create a global consensus that refugees and people who have been displaced should have safe and equal access to healthcare in every host community and to equip national advocates to push for refugee inclusion in their countries.
On the radar
AUSTRALIA, NEW ZEALAND AND THE PACIFIC
- The University of Otago is offering PhD scholarship opportunities in peace and conflict studies for people with disabilities, refugees, migrants and students from countries in the global south. For more information, please click here.
- The University of Melbourne’s Peter McMullin Centre is offering an online intensive course on statelessness with case studies from the Asia Pacific region which will take place in February 2021. The deadline for applications is on 13 September 2020. Please read more for the full course description